A pursuit that ultimately turned into an hours-long standoff in Diamond Bar took a heartbreaking turn as a young passenger spotted walking out of a tear-gassed car turned out to be a 9-year-old girl.
30-year-old Margaret Ann Hassan was charged Thursday with leading Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies on a wild chase with her 9-year-old daughter in the car, striking multiple vehicles and driving at high speeds and sometimes the wrong way on busy streets.
Authorities say it all began with a road rage incident Tuesday evening in Diamond Bar, according to CBS Los Angeles. The suspect led police on a reckless pursuit through the county. Aerial video shows Hassan’s car hitting and scraping past other vehicles in traffic. At the time of the hot pursuit, Police had no idea that Hassan’s 9-year-old daughter was in the back seat.
The drama largely unfolded on live television as news helicopters followed the dramatic chase through the San Gabriel Valley area. The driver of a red sedan was seen running red lights and stops signs at high speeds while sideswiping other vehicles.
Police began chasing Hassan following a hit-and-run crash at about 3:20 p.m. Tuesday involving a civilian vehicle near the Walnut-Diamond Bar Sheriff’s Station at 21695 Valley Blvd. in Walnut, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“The pursuit stemmed from the female suspect (Hassan) becoming involved in a road rage incident with another motorist on the road, which transpired into the suspect using her vehicle as a weapon against the other motorist,” Schrader said.
“Deputies were flagged down by the motorist who had repeatedly and intentionally been rear-ended by the suspect vehicle,” Schrader said. “Deputies attempted to contact the suspect at which time she fled from them in her vehicle.“
A sergeant was involved in a crash while trying to take command of the pursuit, Schrader said. The sergeant was taken to a hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries and later released.
The suspect led deputies through Ontario, Chino Hills, and Chino before turning back to Diamond Bar and was shown on a news video using her car to push other vehicles out of the way, driving between stopped vehicles and on the wrong side of busy streets.
While speeding on El Prado Road in Chino, the suspect was seen narrowly missing head-on collisions with at least three vehicles while driving on the wrong side of the street.
The car became disabled on Diamond Bar Boulevard between Palomino Drive and the Pomona (60) Freeway after rear-ending another vehicle, and deputies surrounded it. They fired at least a dozen bean bag-type rounds into the car to try to break the tinted windows so they could see inside. Then they waited for the SWAT team.
The sheriff’s SWAT team arrived with crisis negotiators and armored vehicles. At about 7 p.m., with armored vehicles surrounding three sides of the car, tear gas was fired into the vehicle.
“After introducing a gas agent, and to the surprise of all personnel, an unknown female child exited the rear of the vehicle and was brought to safety in the arms of an SEB deputy,” Schrader said. “Shortly thereafter, the female suspect was removed from the vehicle and taken into custody without further incident.”
According to reports, Hassan was charged with one felony count each of child abuse under circumstances or conditions likely to cause great bodily injury or death, assault with a deadly weapon, and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly, along with seven misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving resulting in property damage.
Watch the video report below for more details: