A man allegedly stole a California Highway Patrol cruiser and then died after he jumped out of the driver’s side door while the car was still traveling around 45 miles per hour on the highway, according to authorities.
As officers were beginning the investigation into the traffic crash, a young male adult who was involved in the collision jumped into an idling cruiser and took off, officials said.
The man continued to drive down the freeway, reaching speeds of up to 100 miles per hour, police said.
He was driving around 45 miles per hour on the highway near Lancaster when he opened the driver’s door and jumped out of the vehicle as it was approaching a spike strip set up by police, authorities said.
The man, whose name is being held by authorities, rolled across the road and appeared to hit the back of his head and was unconscious as the cruiser continued to travel off the road and crashed into a light pole, police said.
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Police dragged the man off the roadway out of fear the damaged power pole might fall near him. Officers pulled him to the side of the road and provided CPR until he was taken to a local hospital, where he was declared dead.
Officials said the man didn’t gain access to any weapons that were inside the cruiser.
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CHP is investigating how the cruiser was stolen. CHP Officer Alec Pereyda said in a press conference it was standard procedure for a vehicle to be left running when officers get out of their vehicles, but said the doors are required to be locked, KTLA reported.
The investigation is ongoing with officials saying it is “complex,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
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