Skip to Content

Police Chase Ends ‘Like Grand Theft Auto’ When Truck Goes into Gold Line Tunnel

A high-speed chase on Tuesday night ended in riveting fashion even by L.A. standards — a suspected stolen vehicle led authorities on a chase from Huntington Park and finished when the driver took the truck into a Gold Line train tunnel in Boyle Heights.

The alleged male driver is identified as 27-year-old Rafael Lopez of Los Angeles, said Huntington Park Police Lt. Al Martinez. Lopez was caught, but a female passenger suspect was still at large, reports said. During the pursuit, one person was slightly injured and transported to a hospital when the stolen truck slammed into a taxi.

Flawless execution

— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 21, 2018

For people watching the news in bed or reacting on social media, the live helicopter coverage of the chase turned surreal when the truck crawled onto the tracks between the Soto and Indiana stations, and then disappeared into a down-sloping tunnel for the Gold Line trains.

Many — including the LA Taco night editor — immediately drew comparisons to the video game Grand Theft Auto 5, which includes secret tunnels.

That truck went full GTA plowing cabs before it pulled the train tunnel escape, one viewer tweeted.

For more than an hour, the driver led Huntington Park police on high speeds through some of the Eastside’s most well known streets. The vehicle hopped on sidewalks and hit up to 80 mph on some stretches. At one point, the pick-up truck T-boned a taxi at an intersection, leaving one person with minor injuries.

After that collision, the driver careened onto the street level Gold Line tracks on 3rd Street in East L.A., then hopped on again at 1st Street before the dip into the tunnel.

“Wow, we lost him!” exclaimed an ABC 7 aerial reporter from a news chopper. “That’s a first. In thirty years of covering pursuits, that’s a first.”

The truck had been reported stolen on Monday, Lt. Martinez told L.A. TACO. When asked if he had seen anything like it, the officer responded: “A little different, right? Because it went into that tunnel there. I mean, god-forbid a train would have been coming on the same track …”

Lopez, the suspect, was found hiding in some kind of room or closet inside the tunnel, Martinez added. He was booked on felony evading.

The chase began around 9:50 pm, police said, and ended when the suspect was seen led out of the tunnel in cuffs after 11:00 pm. Metro trains were not running at the time in the area, reports said.

Authorities have not released the name of the suspect.

Related: Boyle Heights Mariachis Take a Win Against An 80% Rent Hike

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

‘This is Los Angeles:’ Family Behind El Burro at Placita Olvera Fight to Save 57 Years of Tradition and Culture

"It’s a huge part of L.A.'s identity," said Eugenia Nicole Macias. "We’re not going anywhere. Our grandmother raised us to make noise."

May 24, 2024

What To Eat This Weekend In L.A.: Sonoran-Style Chicharrón, Tikka Masala Fried Chicken, Japanese Curry Arancini, and ‘Flintstones Burgers’

Plus a breezy new restaurant in the South Bay, Guam-style barbecue at the races, smoked birria, and cassava tortillas. Here's where to eat this weekend from Cudahy to West Adams to Arcadia!

May 24, 2024

LAPD Officer Released on $30,000 Bond Following Arrest For Assault With a Deadly Weapon

A day after the incident the LAPD said in a statement that they were prompted to respond to the 8600 block of Belford Avenue after “a community member generated a radio call of an Assault with a Deadly Weapon.” Police later identified the suspect as “off-duty Officer Richard Podkowski.”

May 23, 2024

Downtown’s Aguascalientes-Style ‘Flying Gorditas’ Sell Out On The Street In Three Hours

The family behind this stand also owns a Mexican chile and spice import company , so their guisados taste remarkably fresh. Their gorditas have been so popular that they are opening a brick and mortar restaurant in East L.A. this Saturday.

May 23, 2024

This Peruvian Street-Style Fried Chicken Inside a 30-Year-Old Taquería Is the Valley’s Best-Kept Secret

“I'm very proud of bringing our food, Peruvian food, and the acceptance from our Mexican brothers,” says chef Omar Zavala, who is from Peru and took over Taqueria Juanito's with his wife, Carmen, five years ago.

May 22, 2024
See all posts