10:30 AM PST, January 22, 2013
Los Angeles police on Tuesday identified the man who, the day before, led officers on a slow speed chase into Burbank that ended after his utility work van struck two cars.
The man -- Albert Stokes, 52, of Paramount – was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, according to Los Angeles Police Officer Bruce Borihanh.
Officers had tried to pull Stokes over in Sun Valley after they suspected him of being intoxicated while driving, but after the chase, Borihanh said police found no sign that he was under the influence of alcohol.
The company that employs Stokes -- American Solar Direct -- said it was “shocked” by his “unauthorized actions.”
During the chase on city streets, Stokes sideswiped a car while driving southbound on Glenoaks Boulevard near Magnolia Boulevard, said Burbank Police Lt. Matthew Ferguson.
He then turned right onto Alameda Avenue and right again on Buena Vista Street, where he reportedly rear-ended another vehicle, Ferguson said.
Just before 5 p.m., Stokes’ van came to a halt and he was taken into custody.
In Burbank's city limits, the chase lasted roughly five minutes, Ferguson said, adding that no Burbank units were involved in the pursuit.
American Solar Direct spokesman Denis Wolcott said in a statement that the company was “shocked by this driver’s actions” and is cooperating with police following the employee’s “unauthorized actions.”
“American Solar Direct has a rigorous hiring and training process to ensure all employees meet the company’s high standards for customer service and performance,” Wolcott said. “We expect our employees to obey the law and conduct themselves to the highest professional standards."
-- Alene Tchekmedyian, Times Community News