A California driver attempting to flee police crashed through the wall of a Los Angeles warehouse, exposing what police called an illegal marijuana garden inside.
The driver was paralyzed in the Aug. 15 collision, and police hauled away 800 plants from the site, though they were mum about the extent of the operation inside.
Neighbors told reporters they knew the building housed a marijuana business. They could smell it for months, they said. One woman who worked nearby thought the smell was so bad it might be a gas leak.
“Once I had an employee come in and tell me, ‘You know, you need to call the gas company and find out,” said Lyndia Lipscomp, HR director at a business next door.
One neighbor said he talked with the warehouse’s owner about the smell.
“When I talked to the owner of the building, he was under the impression that they were storing vintage cars,” said Adam Cohen, accounting manager at the Signorelli T-Shirt Company, located next door.
The pursuit started when cops with the California Highway Patrol noticed a man driving erratically in a Volkswagen Jetta in Huntington Park. They tried to pull him over, and then gave chase when he refused to stop. The driver attempted to cross a median near Regent Street and Gage Avenue at high speed.
His car was launched into the air and through the building’s wall, then came to a stop 120 feet inside the warehouse. There was no one inside at the time. The crash apparently damaged the pot garden’s irrigation system, as flowing water could be seen through the hole left by the Jetta.
The driver was extracted from his car and delivered to the hospital. He was arrested there and has been charged with reckless driving and evading police. He could also face drunk-driving charges.
The episode is a good example of why Americans support marijuana legalization. People get drunk and drive into grow houses. But they don’t get stoned and drive through the front windows of liquor stores.