The pursuit of a limo party bus that was stolen in the San Diego area ended with a crash Tuesday afternoon on a highway north of Los Angeles.
The 40-foot Top Dog limo party bus was reported stolen from 4000 block of Morena Boulevard in San Diego just before 10:30 a.m.
The pursuit of the vehicle began around 11:30 a.m. on Interstate-5 in the Los Angeles area and was in the San Fernando Valley at midday. The driver of the black bus continued north onto the 14 Freeway.
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The chase came to an end after the bus slammed into the rear end of a car on Pearblossom Highway in the Acton area, and the driver was taken into custody. Steam appeared to be coming from the front of the bus following the crash.
The CHP said in a news release sent out on Tuesday afternoon that Melissa Jackson had been arrested at the scene of the crash and would be facing charges of auto theft and evading arrest. Investigators said she sustained minor injuries in the wreck. Also hurt in the crash was the driver of the vehicle the bus rear-ended. That person was taken to a nearby hospital.
Both vehicles sustained major damage in the crash, according to the CHP.
Susie Leitzke, an owner at Top Dog Limo Bus since 2020, said a driver went to make a pickup on Morena Boulevard. After he arrived, she said, he went out to meet with the clients — "usually what we do is we get out of the vehicle, open it up, let them inside and apparently the person got in" — and when he returned, the bus was gone.
"An hour and a half later, we received a call from somebody complaining about the driver in the bus, and I told the person it was a stolen vehicle," Leitzke said. "He stayed on the phone with us, following the bus, while we called dispatch CHP."
Leitzke said that she was still reeling from Tuesday's developments and would be calling her insurer regarding the bus, which she valued in the ballpark of $130,000.
The Top Dog Limo Bus company, which operates four of the buses and has been in business for about 30 years, was last in the news in September of last year, when a woman who later died fell out of one of their vehicles as it traveled down Interstate 5.