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LA-area chase of lewd acts suspect ends in crash
Tuesday - 7/10/2012, 11:45pm EDT
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. (AP) - A middle school teacher under investigation in a lewd-acts case led officers on a chase Tuesday that ended with his pickup truck veering off a road, flying down an embankment and ramming a tree, officials said.
The chase began with a child-endangerment investigation by police in the city of Bell, who are investigating Kip Arnold, a physical education teacher at Southeast Middle School who is suspected of lewd acts with a former student, officials from the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Unified School District said.
Bell police had been watching Arnold at his home in Lakewood, and were about to arrest him when he got into the truck and fled, leading a chase on roads and freeways including Interstate 405, Interstate 10 and Pacific Coast Highway.
At one point a patrol car bumped the pickup, forcing it to crash into a big-rig.
After that came a brief standoff where the suspect talked to police before fleeing again.
"He said, `I'm not stopping, I'm suicidal,' put the car in gear and drove off," Bell police Lt. Ty Henshaw told the Los Angeles Times.
TV news helicopter cameras followed the pickup as it veered off a road in the Rolling Hills Estates area, crashed through a fence, became airborne and flew into trees.
Firefighters freed the driver, and took him away on a gurney.
Arnold has been employed by the school district for eight years, and also worked at Nimitz Middle School and Gage Middle School, according to a school district statement. Police are looking for other possible victims.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)