A Los Angeles Unified School District physical education teacher accused of committing lewd acts on a child led police on a chase Tuesday afternoon that began in Lakewood and ended in Rolling Hills Estates when he sped over an embankment, sending his pickup truck airborne and crashing into the base of a tree.
"Earlier in the week we received information that an LAUSD teacher committed some lewd acts with a child," said Lt. Ty Henshaw of the Bell Police Department.
The teacher, identified by the LAUSD as Southeast Middle School teacher Kip Arnold, had been under surveillance at his Lakewood home for a day or two, Henshaw said. He said Bell police were about to arrest the man at 12:40 p.m. July 10 -- the result of an investigation conducted by his department, the district attorney's office and school police -- when the suspect walked out of his home.
"We tried to stop him when he came out. He did stop and he said, 'Hey, I know why you're here. I'm going to commit suicide,"' Henshaw said.
He then got in his vehicle, rolled up the window and drove away.
California Highway Patrol officers joined the pursuit about 12:50 p.m. on the southbound San Diego (405) Freeway. The chase then went onto Pacific Coast Highway, where the suspect went west through Torrance.
About 1:15 p.m. near Western Avenue, a patrol car spun out the black pickup truck, which became wedged into the side of a stopped big rig for a few minutes, but the motorist sped away again. He drove south on Crenshaw Boulevard and when he reached Silver Spur Road around 1:30 p.m., he swerved off the road, going airborne over an embankment and crashing into the base of a tree.
Henshaw said the man was alive and talking when authorities reached his crumpled pickup truck.
According to the LAUSD, Arnold was arrested "on suspicion of lewd behavior with a former student, and possibly additional victims."
Arnold has worked for LAUSD for eight years, previously teaching at Nimitz Middle School, Gage Middle School and Orchard Academies 2B, according to the district.
- City News Service