Johnny Anchondo, a 32-year-old man with prior charges, has been identified by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as the suspect behind a high-speed chase through Los Angeles County and Orange County on Nov. 11. The chase began at about 4:45 P.M. and lasted approximately an hour and a half, during which Anchondo stole two cars and broke into a home.
Police first caught sight of Anchondo as they attempted to stop him for a traffic violation. Anchondo refused to pull over, evading the Fullerton police department in a high-speed chase towards Anaheim.
Fullerton police were in close pursuit until Anchond stopped in an apartment complex in Anaheim, near West Coronet Avenue. Anchondo got into a white van and found himself surrounded by a police barricade. He repeatedly backed into the police cars that attempted to barricade him until he was once again able to flee.
The owner of the van, John Reynolds, had been out with his family when Anchondo hijacked his car. Upon receiving a call from the owner of his apartment complex, Reynolds was unsure of how Anchondo managed to take his van in the first place.
“The keys are [with me] and I definitely lock my car every time,” Reynolds told ABC. “He either has some kind of master key or he hot-wired the car. But, he definitely knew what he was doing because after he got done with my car he was able to hop into another car and take it as well.”
The chase left a devastating impact on all involved. Reynolds needed the van for work, but he couldn’t use it after Anchondo smashed it into other cars during the course of the chase.
“A lot of people rely on me because convenience stores are open every single day and I have to make deliveries so they have products for their customers,” Reynolds told KTLA. “I’m scrambling right now.”
Reynolds and his family have since began a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of renting a van that will allow Reynolds to continue working.
The chase continued into LA County, where the LA Sheriff Department took over the chase. Anchondo stopped again in Whittier, where he got out of the stolen vehicle and broke into a residential home. Anchondo then took the keys from the counter of the home and attempted to flee in the truck parked in the driveway.
KTLA reported that Andres Benitez, one of several occupants that were home at the time, grabbed a knife upon hearing Anchondo enter the house.
“I told him. ‘You got to get out the house, man, or I’m going to stab you.’ The only thing that I wanted him to do was just get out, get out the house. But no, man, he did way more damage. If I knew he would’ve done all that, the second I saw him, man, I wouldn’t have let him make any more steps,” Benitez told KTLA.
Despite Benitez’s threats, Anchondo successfully stole the vehicle and crashed through the front gate. The chase continued.
“It just makes me upset how a low life can do all this to innocent people just trying to live life. When I saw him in the eyes I already knew he didn’t care about his life,” Benitez told ABC.
Benitez’s truck was newly purchased for the family’s landscaping business. Similarly to Reynold’s, the Benitez family has since set up a GoFundMe to purchase tools that were left in the stolen vehicle.
Reaching speeds of over 80 MPH on urban roads, Anchondo continued to flee from authorities and displayed reckless behavior on the road. For a brief moment, Anchondo seemed to be trapped in a cul-de-sac in La Habra, but managed to out-maneuver police cruisers until he was back on the main roads.
Anaconda led police to Hacienda Heights, where KTLA reported that sparks began to shoot out from the bottom of the truck. Anchondo crashed into several more drivers on the road before the stolen vehicle came to a stop in front of a gas station on Hacienda Boulevard. Police ran into the back of the truck, forming a barricade to prevent Anchondo from leaving. Anchondo attempted to reverse the truck into police cars, prompting police to open fire on the truck.
Authorities were finally able to remove Anchondo from the car by breaking the driver side window, during which the sheriff’s department reported using less-than-lethal force. He was then arrested, loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital.
While detained at the LASD Norwalk Police Station, Anchondo’s previous criminal records were revealed.
The LA Times reported that Anchondo had been “charged 18 times by Riverside County prosecutors on drug possession, grand theft, evading arrest, willful child cruelty, receiving stolen property, parole violation and other charges dating back to 2013.”
Anchondo was also violating parole during his November chase.
“This was obviously an incredibly dangerous pursuit involving a suspect who had zero regard for public safety, for the motorists on the street and the police officers involved,” Capt. Jon Radus, a spokesperson for the police department in Fullerton, told the LA Times. “I’m just grateful that nobody was seriously injured.”
Scarlett Roberts is a City News Intern for the fall 2022 quarter. She can be reached at email@example.com.