Stolen hearse with body inside recovered after pursuit ends with crash on Southern California freeway


LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — One person was taken into custody following a pursuit of a stolen hearse that ended in a crash on the 110 Freeway in South Los Angeles, prompting the closure of all southbound lanes Thursday morning, authorities said.

The body that was inside the hearse when it was stolen from outside a church in East Pasadena Wednesday was found in the back of the vehicle after it crashed, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Benjamin Grubb told KTLA.

A good samaritan noticed the black SUV, called police and started following it at about 7:35 a.m. in the area of Figueroa and 23rd streets, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Officers responded and tried to stop the SUV, but the driver didn’t yield and they started chasing the vehicle before it crashed on the 110 Freeway near the Vermont Square neighborhood.

Aerial video from Sky5 showed a damaged Lincoln Navigator with the same license plate as the one stolen from outside a church in East Pasadena the night before.

A casket was visible in the back of the vehicle, video showed.

Grubb said the person’s remains were undisturbed besides the effects from the impact of the crash.

The black Lincoln Navigator was carrying a casket with a body inside when it was taken from Saint Anthony Greek Orthodox Church at 778 S. Rosemead Blvd. around 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

There were initially two bodies in the vehicle when it arrived to the church, but one was taken into the church and when they came back out to get the other body, the Navigator was gone, officials said.

Authorities provided no further details on the person in custody and it’s unknown whether anyone was injured in the collision.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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