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Police pursuit ends with 3 dead after crash in Garden Grove sends truck into pool

Three people were killed early Friday morning when a pickup fleeing the Garden Grove police struck another car, crashed through a wall and came to rest upside down in a swimming pool, authorities said.

At 2:12 a.m., a Garden Grove police officer spotted a Dodge Ram driving “at a high rate of speed” through a parking lot near Chapman Avenue and Harbor Boulevard, Lt. Mario Martinez of the Garden Grove Police Department said in a statement.

The officer turned on his lights and sirens and tried to catch the truck as it headed west on Chapman Avenue. The pickup continued driving at a fast speed until it struck another car at the intersection of Euclid Street and Orangewood Avenue, police said, about two miles northwest of where the officer first spotted the truck.

In an image from OnScene.TV, a pickup truck ended up in a residential swimming pool after being chased by Garden Grove police and crashing into another vehicle, killing both drivers and a passenger in one of the vehicles, authorities said.


The pickup smashed through a wall and came to rest upside down in a home’s swimming pool. The driver died at the scene, police said. The driver of the car struck by the pickup was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

When fire authorities managed to lift the pickup from the pool hours later, they found a third man dead inside, police said.

One vehicle sheared a hydrant and crashed into a pool, one vehicle rolled over on street @ corner of Euclid/Orangewood in @CityGardenGrove. FF’s from our Heavy Rescue truck using search cam inside vehicle in pool. One pt confirmed deceased. One pt transported by FF/paramedics.

— OCFA PIO (@OCFA_PIO) March 12, 2021

The police did not identify any of the victims Friday, but relatives of the man struck by the fleeing pickup identified him to KTLA as Michael Clugston, 39, a resident of Anaheim.

Clugston was on his way to work when he was killed, according to a GoFundMe set up by a relative. He is survived by his wife, parents, daughter, granddaughter and stepchildren, the page says.

Police pursuit ends with three dead after crash in Garden Grove sends truck into pool.

The scene of the crash in Garden Grove, in an image from OnScene.TV.


The Garden Grove collision was the latest in a string of police pursuits that ended in serious crashes across the Southland.

Six people were injured Monday in Glendora, two of them seriously, when a car being chased by the Azusa police veered across the center median, causing a five-car crash. The driver of the fleeing car, which had been reported stolen, was ejected and suffered serious injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol, which is investigating the crash.

Last week, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies stopped a motorist in West Hollywood who they said was driving without headlights and straddling lanes. The driver struck the deputies with his car, a gray Chevrolet Malibu, and took off, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

They chased the sedan about a mile until it struck an SUV in the intersection of Third Street and Fairfax Avenue. The sedan caught fire, and the force of the collision pinned the SUV between a tree and a building. The SUV’s driver, Jeeves Tangonan, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tangonan, a chef, was on his way home from work when he was killed, according to a GoFundMe set up by his family.

The driver of the Chevrolet Malibu, Alex Lopez, 28, survived his injuries and now faces charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, assault on a peace officer, fleeing a peace officer and DUI causing injury. He has pleaded not guilty.

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