A man allegedly kidnapped a Pacific Palisades woman, who intentionally crashed the car she was forced to drive, then took a second vehicle from a nearby home before causing a collision that left two people seriously injured on Monday.
Several other collisions caused by the suspect had northbound traffic backed up for miles Monday morning.
The series of crimes started about 7:40 a.m., when the suspect broke into a home in the 100 block of Marquez Place, Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Don Montelibano of the West Los Angeles Station said.
“In that residence, he forced an elderly woman, at knifepoint, to drive him to some location in the San Fernando Valley,” Montelibano said.
Instead, the woman he allegedly kidnapped deliberately crashed her car at a construction site near Palisades High School to try to get away.
“After that car crash, he then carjacks a young woman, takes her Toyota and continues driving north but then he crashed that car into four parked cars on Livorno Drive,” Montelibano said.
From there, he said, the suspect broke into a second home, forcing the residents to give him the keys to a Lexus, which he began driving north on Pacific Coast Highway. Soon, however, the Lexus crashed into two other vehicles, Montelibano said.
Sheriff’s deputies chased the suspect after he drove past the Los Angeles city limits, said sheriff’s Lt. James Royal, watch commander at the Malibu/Lost Hills Station.
“We were notified by the LAPD that a suspect in a stolen vehicle that may have been involved in a robbery and kidnapping was last seen heading in our direction,” Royal said.
A call was then received from a motorist on Pacific Coast Highway “who told us he was involved in a car crash with a vehicle that fit the suspect’s car description,” Royal said.
The suspect fled that accident site and started driving north on Malibu Canyon Road, Royal continued. These events prompted the sheriff’s department to shut down Malibu Canyon Road from Seaver Drive to Pacific Coast Highway and to close Pacific Coast Highway at Malibu Canyon Road, Royal said.
“A short distance from the PCH accident site, the suspect had another car crash, but at that point our deputies caught up to him and took him into custody,” Royal said. “We then passed him on to the LAPD for booking.”
The second car crash on Malibu Canyon Road left two a woman and her son injured. They were airlifted to a hospital, Montelibano said.
The suspect, identified as Brian Cruz, 45, by the Los Angeles Police Department, was then taken to a hospital for injuries he suffered in the crashes, Montelibano said.
“We are waiting for him to be released so we can book him,” Montelibano said.
According to Montelibano, Cruz faces a myriad of charges that includes two home invasions, a kidnapping charge, carjacking and three auto thefts.
“I don’t know why he did all of this,” Montelibano said. “The only thing I heard was that he was either mentally ill or under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol. We definitely need this guy off the street.”