Chasing the smart

I’ve been meaning to post this (video at link) for days. Guess I’m not as speedy as a smart car:

Smart Car Leads Police, CHP On Fast Freeway Chase

LOS ANGELES  With speeds often reaching 90 mph, police chased a suspect Monday evening in a Smart car through the San Fernando Valley towards Pasadena.

CHP officers, about half hour into the chase, decided to pull back in an effort to get the driver to slow down, according to authorities.

They abandoned the chase altogether when they determined who the driver was and where he lived, said officials.

At that point, the chase was well onto the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway approaching Sylmar.

The super-small and very fast (who knew?) Smart car was pursued initially on the northbound Hollywood (170) Freeway.

According to comments on the Smart Cars of America forums, the chopper pilot himself was surprised:

I was the pilot-reporter over the pursuit, and I will never forget it ’till the day I die.

We took off to go on an unrelated story and just as we lifted, my photographer, who was monitoring the scanner, notified me that we had “our favorite story going on.”

When he told me that it was I-5 north passing Osborne, I couldn’t believe it: we were only 1 1/2 miles away at lift-off. It took me three minutes to catch him ’cause he was really hauling butt. (First reason I didn’t think it was a smart.)

When we got overhead and went live I noted that it was a “subcompact” because of the darkness, crappy monitor that I have upfront, our altitude (I heard “CHP 51” on our common frequency calling inbound), and that my head is always on a swivel and looking outside.

As we climbed into the Crescenta Valley (east 210), the CHP called off the pursuit, CHP 51 aborted, and we cleared Burbank’s class Charlie so I got rid of Burbank tower. It was just me and the car. I dropped down to about 500 AGL and sure as shootin’, it was a blue passion with a silver tridion.

I went on the air to say that I, Larry Welk and Gary Lineberry (three of KCAL/KCBS’s pilot-reporters) are all smart car owners.

About this time the dude has slowed to the normal flow of traffic because no one’s chasing him anymore.

We continued to track him out to Rancho Cucamonga where we saw him pick up the I-15 south towards San Diego. (Apparently the registered owner lives in La Mesa.)

I often wondered if I would ever see a smart car pursuit. Now I have. It happened January 12th, five days before the first anniversary of the delivery of my first smart car.

Hope those of you who saw it live last night enjoyed it as much as I did.