David Mendez

Theft suspect fleeing Redondo Beach police causes multi-car crash

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A damaged SUV sits just outside the intersection of Reodndo Beach Boulevard and Hawthorne Boulevard. Police say the car was struck when a suspect driving the white SUV seen in the background, apparently attempting to flee police, collided with it in the intersection. Photo by David Mendez

by David Mendez

A man attempting to flee police after a suspected theft at the South Bay Galleria mall collided with multiple vehicles, shutting down roads to Redondo, Lawndale and Torrance on Saturday night.

According to the Redondo Beach Police Department, the man was suspected of committing theft at the Kohl’s department store inside the Galleria around 8:50 p.m. Police pursued the suspect as he left Galleria property, attempting to perform a traffic stop as he headed eastbound on Redondo Beach Boulevard. As the suspect turned left onto Hawthorne Boulevard, it struck multiple oncoming cars already in the intersection.

The suspect’s vehicle, a white SUV, came to a stop just north of the crash site. Then, according to police on scene, the suspect may have attempted to carjack another vehicle before being apprehended.

Northbound Hawthorne Boulevard and westbound Redondo Beach Boulevard were closed at the intersection for more than an hour as responders investigated and attempted to clean up the scene.

One struck car came to a stop on westbound Redondo Beach Boulevard after the crash, suffering mild damage. Its occupants, a woman, a man, and a young boy, were unharmed, though shaken up, police said. 

“The light had turned green, and cars ahead of us had already gone through,” said Chris, one of the car’s occupants. “That’s when we were hit.”

Only after clearing the intersection and stopping the car on the side of the road did they understand what happened. Shortly after the collision, Chris said, police lights and sirens came alive.

Another vehicle, a green SUV, was severely damaged in the crash, its front end smashed in. The condition of that vehicle’s driver is unknown.

The suspect is now in custody at Redondo Beach Jail, booked on suspicion of theft, though police say that other charges may be recommended pending further investigation.

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