Pursuit of Stolen Vehicle Results in Suspect Crashing into Innocent Driver and Killing Occupants
On January 31, 2023, at around 7:45 p.m., Foothill patrol units located a stolen vehicle driving in Pacoima and prepared to conduct a traffic stop. At which time, the driver of the vehicle suddenly sped away, and a four-minute police pursuit ensued. As the pursuit continued, tracking was initiated. Shortly after tracking was initiated, the stolen vehicle failed to stop for red phased tri-light signal at the intersection of Woodman Avenue and Lanark Street, violently colliding into another vehicle. Tragically, the driver and passenger of this vehicle sustained massive injuries and succumbed to them.
After the stolen vehicle came to rest from the violent collision, the suspect driver, (later identified as Oscar De La Cruz), climbed out of the stolen vehicle and fled on foot to escape being taken into custody. Officers chased De La Cruz on foot, where he was taken into custody after a minor use of force. Once in custody, officers observed De La Cruz to have labored breathing and appeared to be under the influence of a narcotic.
De La Cruz admitted to injecting heroin and ingesting fentanyl. Officers administered three doses of Narcan to De La Cruz, which aided in his recovery. Immediately following the collision, ambulances were requested and arrived on-scene to provide medical treatment to all parties. Inside the stolen vehicle was another occupant that had sustained minor injuries.
De La Cruz was transported to a local hospital and was seen by medical staff for injuries sustained in the use of force. De La Cruz was released for booking at Valley Jail Section for Section 187 of the California Penal Code. His bail has been set for $500,000. De La Cruz has an extensive criminal history and was on parole.
The Multi-Disciplinary Collision Investigation Team is handling the investigation. We would like to remind everybody when involved in a traffic collision to stop and check on the other parties, make sure they are not injured, call 9-1-1 if they need medical attention, and to exchange information. Do not make a traffic accident into a crime by leaving.
On February 2, 2023, the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office charged the following felony counts: two counts of Section 192(c)(1) “Vehicular Manslaughter” of the California Penal Code, one count of Section 2800.3(b) “Fleeing a Pursuing Peace Officer’s Motor Vehicle Causing Death” of the California Vehicle Code, one count Section 20001(b) “Felony Hit and Run,” of the California Vehicle and one misdemeanor count of Section 10851(a) “Driving Without Owners Consent” of the California Vehicle Code against Oscar De La Cruz. The toxicology (opioids and methamphetamines) and vehicle reconstruction will be provided to the District Attorney Office for additional charges. De La Cruz has a No Bail Warrant for a Parole Violation. De La Cruz next court date is February 16, 2023.