UPDATED: Tuesday 2:14 p.m.
“Just kill me,” were the words of a Pacoima man moments before officers from the Ft. Tejon California Highway Patrol deployed a Taser and arrested the suspect on Interstate 5 early this morning.
Around 3 a.m. the CHP was contacted by big rig driver Juan Francisco De Paz claiming he was being chased on the southbound I-5 near Grapevine Road. According to the CHP, the 33 year-old De Paz was driving erratically. He struck another vehicle spinning it around 180 degrees. De Paz’ tractor trailer momentarily stopped nose-to-nose with the other vehicle. He struck it a second time to move it out of the way.
Drivers passing by the collision contacted 9-1-1. The other driver was unhurt.
De Paz continued driving southbound down the interstate when a CHP patrol unit caught up with him and activated its emergency lights and sirens. After the suspect failed to yield, two other CHP units joined in the pursuit as the tractor trailer continued south past Lebec. One of the units maneuvered ahead of the vehicle and deployed a spike strip at State Route 138.
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Despite receiving a few flat tires the driver refused to stop. The big rig was reportedly weaving between lanes as it continued southbound at speeds fluctuating between 35 to 55 miles per hour. De Paz was observed by officers leaning out the cab window, one hand holding a cell phone and the other hand on the steering wheel.
Due to driving on flat tires the rubber caught fire and the vehicle became engulfed in flames. The male driver stopped and exited the tractor trailer but refused to obey commands to put his hands on his head and walk back towards the officers. Instead, the suspect elected to lie on the ground, continue his cell phone call and smoke a cigarette.
Rufusing to comply with CHP commands, the man began to wave his hands and asked to be killed. After being shot by a non-lethal Taser the suspect was taken into custody without further incident. The suspect was determined to be under the influence of drugs and was booked into the Kern County jail.
De Paz faces charges of DUI, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, Resisting Arrest, and Possession of meth amphetamines.
De Paz was hauling produce for V.J. Trucking out of San Leandro. The load had to be condemned.