BELLFLOWER, Calif. (NewsNation Now) — A stolen U-Haul truck towing a trailer was pursued by authorities on Southern California freeways early Tuesday until it burst into flame and the driver unsuccessfully tried to run away.
The chase originated in Buena Park, according to a California Highway Patrol spokesperson who confirmed to NewsNation affiliate KTLA, that the truck was stolen and being driven by a single male occupant.
KTLA’s Sky5 helicopter initially caught up with the pursuit a little after 5 a.m. local time as the 26-foot U-Haul Super Mover was on the 605 Freeway in Whittier. The Super Mover is the largest truck U-Haul offers to the public for moving, according to its website.
Law enforcement officers followed the truck-trailer combo for about two hours as rush hour traffic stacked up.
The truck appeared to run over a spike strip on the 91 Freeway just before 6:15 a.m. The truck then exited the freeway on Euclid Street, with two flat front tires.
The tires began smoking as the driver continued to flee from authorities, getting back on the 91 Freeway headed westbound.
The driver had slowed down to about 10 mph due to the flat tires but continued driving. A fire could be seen coming from the passenger side wheel as the truck continued, and the flames appeared to be growing and spreading under the truck about 6:45 a.m
The slow-moving truck finally pulled off the freeway in Bellflower and the driver jumped out as the cab burst into flames.
The driver was quickly captured and firefighters extinguished the truck fire.
All reporting by Tony Kurzweil and Nancy Fontan of KTLA. NewsNation affiliate KTLA and the Associated Press contributed to this report.