LOS ANGELES - A man driving a tow truck borrowed from a friend led police on a chase from Sherman Oaks to Hollywood and Glendale Tuesday after getting into a dispute with an officer at the scene of a collision.
The chase started about 4:25 p.m. near Magnolia and Woodman avenues, then headed into Studio City and Hollywood, Los Angeles police Officer Karen Rayner said. Ambartsum Sarkisyan, 31 of Sherman Oaks, appeared to be obeying all traffic laws for most of the chase, did not appear too intent on getting away.
The chase ended in Glendale nearly 2 1/2 hours after it started when Sarkisyan stopped the truck, got out and surrendered to Glendale police without incident.
Sarkisyan was booked for assault with a deadly weapon -- the truck -- on an officer, Rayner said. Bail was set at $50,000.
The truck had been loaned to Sarkisyan by a friend, Rayner said. It belongs to Portola Towing in Lake Forest which is affiliated with AAA.
A witness who said she saw the initial collision said Sarkisyan was questioned by police who asked to see his paperwork, which he didn't have. The officer appeared calm but the driver was becoming more and more upset, she said.
He apparently was trying to respond to the collision as an AAA driver.
Sarkisyan had wended his way from the San Fernando Valley into Hollywood in the first hour and was driving east on Los Feliz Boulevard, but once he went past the Golden State (5) Freeway, he saw officers ahead who apparently planned on stopping him with a spike strip. He made a U-turn and drove back into Hollywood.
Police were confronted by the fact that the truck weighs about 15,000 pounds which would have made it a difficult candidate for a PIT maneuver.
Sarkisyan seemed to speed up once he got back in Hollywood, perhaps because police had made additional attempts to lay out spike strips.
At one point Sarkisyan pulled alongside an NBC4 van and had a conversation with a reporter. He said he was not going to hurt anybody and police were trying to give him a ticket, but he hadn't done anything wrong.