A Ventura County man who allegedly stole a Los Angeles Police Department patrol SUV in Hollywood and led officers on a chase to the San Fernando Valley last week pleaded not guilty Friday to a pair of felony counts.
Ethan Rutland, 28, is charged with one count each of driving or taking a law enforcement or fire department vehicle without consent and fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s motor vehicle while driving recklessly.
Rutland allegedly got into the SUV — which had its engine running and police weapons secured in the vehicle — and drove away as two officers responded to a call of an unrelated suspect running from other officers early the morning of April 6,.
Police quickly located the vehicle, which had a GPS device in it, and chased it onto the northbound Hollywood (101) Freeway and into the San Fernando Valley, where the vehicle got off the freeway at Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills, authorities said. Along the way, officers had deployed a spike strip.
Rutland was arrested after the vehicle hit a curb and stopped near Ventura Boulevard and DeSoto Avenue.
He is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom April 26 for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.
If convicted as charged, Rutland could face up to eight years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
In other news, Mayor Garcetti will visit Iowa.