LA-area chase of lewd acts suspect ends in crash

By the Associated Press | July 11, 2012 | 12:36 AM EDT

Los Angeles County firefighters work to rescue a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher under investigation for alleged lewd conduct, after he led police on a chase into Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., where he drove off an embankment, went airborne and crashed Tuesday, July 10, 2012. Firefighters freed the the man from his dark pickup truck, which rolled over and came to rest next to an office building. Bell police began investigating the man earlier this week and were watching him this morning at his home. They followed him to Lakewood and tried to stop him, Bell police Lt. Ty Henshaw said. (AP Photo/The Daily Breeze, Sean Hiller) MAGS OUT; NO SALES

ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, Calif. (AP) — A middle school teacher under investigation in a lewd-acts case led officers on a chase Tuesday that ended with his pickup truck veering off a road, flying down an embankment and ramming a tree, officials said.

The chase began with a child-endangerment investigation by police in the city of Bell, who are investigating Kip Arnold, a physical education teacher at Southeast Middle School who is suspected of lewd acts with a former student, officials from the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles Unified School District said.

Bell police had been watching Arnold at his home in Lakewood, and were about to arrest him when he got into the truck and fled, leading a chase on roads and freeways including Interstate 405, Interstate 10 and Pacific Coast Highway.

At one point a patrol car bumped the pickup, forcing it to crash into a big-rig.

After that came a brief standoff where the suspect talked to police before fleeing again.

"He said, 'I'm not stopping, I'm suicidal,' put the car in gear and drove off," Bell police Lt. Ty Henshaw told the Los Angeles Times.

TV news helicopter cameras followed the pickup as it veered off a road in the Rolling Hills Estates area, crashed through a fence, became airborne and flew into trees.

Firefighters freed the driver, and took him away on a gurney.

Arnold has been employed by the school district for eight years, and also worked at Nimitz Middle School and Gage Middle School, according to a school district statement. Police are looking for other possible victims.