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Man Carjacks Minivan, Two Injured

February 11, 1998

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ An ex-convict in a stolen pickup rammed an airport shuttle, then got out and carjacked a minivan and tried to drive away while the victim dangled from the door with his seatbelt caught around his neck.

Sparks were flying from the rubber-stripped rims of the pickup truck before it was abandoned an hour into the chase Tuesday night. An hour later, the rush-hour chase ended when a man identified as Pete Tauveve, 27, of Long Beach crashed the minivan into the center divider of Interstate 5.

Dodging cars, he ran across four lanes of the freeway, but finally gave up after failing to jump a fence.

Six of seven Los Angeles television stations carried all or part of the chase live and had helicopters in the air.

The chase looped around and around, on freeways and off, near the home where Tauveve’s family lives.

His sister, Sara Tatupu, tried to climb into the cab and bed of the pickup truck during one pass, but fell to the ground as Tauveve sped away.

The driver smashed into more than 20 cars and narrowly missed three pedestrians as he careened through intersections, zigzagged in and out of parking lots and sped down freeway shoulders at speeds sometimes reaching 100 mph.

Tim Cole, 48, was on his way to a job interview at Home Depot when he was carjacked near the Los Angeles International Airport.

``I was stuck in by my seatbelt and he kept shoving me out and I kept telling him, ‘My seat belt is on, I can’t get out.’ Finally he unlatched it and threw me out. That was it,″ Cole said.

Cole and Tauveve’s sister had only minor injuries. None of the other motorists struck by the truck suffered serious injuries, officers said.

Tauveve was booked for investigation of carjacking and was being held on $100,000 bail, sheriff’s Lt. Mark Walker said.

Ms. Tatupu told KCAL-TV her brother wanted to surrender before the carjacking. ``There was just too many people around. There was all the media,″ she said. ``There was just too much stuff, too much. There was a lot of commotion. When you’re in fear, just like anyone, when you’re in fear, you run.″

Tauveve was released from jail a few months ago _ details on the charges were not immediately available _ and had gotten married about a month ago, Pastor Leo Tafao told KCAL. Tafao described Tauveve as a ``good, young man.″

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