Fatal Collision Involving Suspected Copper Wire Thief on Costa Mesa Freeway

TUSTIN, Calif. — A tragic incident unfolded on Monday when a suspected copper wire thief was struck and killed while attempting to flee from law enforcement on the Costa Mesa (55) Freeway in Tustin.

The identity of the 32-year-old Santa Ana man remains undisclosed at this time, as authorities are in the process of notifying all of his family members, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Anselmo Templado.

The fateful chain of events commenced at approximately 11:25 a.m. when the suspect was actively engaged in the theft of copper wire from a building, an audacious act unfolding "in broad daylight, throwing it to the ground" near the vicinity of First Street and Yorba Avenue, as disclosed by Tustin police Lt. Ryan Coe.

Reportedly, the suspect was attempting to abscond from the scene while pushing a shopping cart laden with the stolen copper. Upon the arrival of law enforcement officers, he hastily abandoned the pilfered items, opting to make a daring escape by leaping over a fence that led to the side of the freeway.

As officers worked diligently to establish a perimeter in order to contain the fleeing suspect, he made a fateful decision to dash across the freeway. Tragically, the suspect was struck by a vehicle while traversing the northbound lanes at the intersection of First and Fourth streets, according to Coe.

In response to the incident, authorities found it necessary to temporarily close all lanes for approximately 30 minutes, as confirmed by Templado. However, by 1:15 p.m., the three right lanes had been reopened, ensuring the resumption of traffic flow in the area.

This unfortunate incident serves as a somber reminder of the risks associated with criminal activity and the consequences it can bring. Investigations into the circumstances surrounding the event are ongoing.