Police pursuit shut down part of the 405 at Culver Boulevard on Tuesday night

By Gary Walker

A man accused of stealing an airport shuttle van and leading police on a brief freeway chase along the 405 in Westchester and Del Rey on Tuesday night.

Police say a witness reported seeing the man, later identified as 39-year-old Omar Hernandez of Los Angeles, drive away with a Holiday Inn Express van near LAX at around 9 p.m. Tuesday. The witness called 911 and followed the van as it made its way through parts of Westchester before entering the 405 Freeway, LAPD Pacific Division Capt. James Setzer said.

After getting on the freeway, Hernandez reportedly abandoned the van and fled on foot. An LAPD helicopter was dispatched to the location and police arrested Hernandez, who they say appeared to be intoxicated, on suspicion grand theft auto.

The police chase briefly shutdown several lanes of the freeway at Culver Boulevard.

According to county jail records, Hernandez has been arrested multiple times — including by Pacific Division officers on Dec. 7 for spitting on an officer, according to Setzer. Hernandez had been released from custody on Dec. 10.

Setzer also disputed previous reports of Hernandez allegedly crashing into several vehicles.

“Although there were reports from the witness that the van hit parked cars,” he said, “a search of the route of travel located no damaged vehicles.”

Hernandez is being held on $35,000 bond. His court date has not yet been set.

gary@argonautnews.com

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