NewsCovering Kern County


Officers map out timeline of RV chase

Started in Santa Clarita ended in Kern County
Posted at 6:28 PM, May 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-03 10:09:24-04

An Oregon man lead law enforcement on a wild police chase while driving an RV Tuesday. Wednesday, 23 ABC, got a timeline of the chase that ended with suspect, 46-year-old Stephen Houk, escaping in a Kern County almond orchard.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Captain, Eddie Hernandez, said the chase started after a dispute between Houk and his common law wife in Santa Clarita.

"I guess he has some history of being violent with her and the kids. And whatever it was, the specifics of it, I don't really want to get into it, it obviously escalated to the point where he kicked her out of the motor home," said Captain Hernandez.

Captain Hernandez also said LA County Sheriff deputies first got a call around 8 yesterday morning at the Best Buy in Santa Clarita, saying Houk threatened his common law wife with a gun, then drove off with their two children ages 3 years old and 11 months old.

The pursuit started Captain Hernandez said, Los Angeles police officers found the RV Houk was driving in West Los Angeles. They tried to stop him. When Houk didn't pull over they followed him north up The 170 to The 5 and into Kern County.

Once Houk got to the grapevine California Highway Patrol officers said that's when Kern County law enforcement started to follow Houk. They then followed him for about two hours before Houk escaped in the almond orchard.

CHP spokesman, Robert Rodriguez, said, "Through the city of Bakersfield, up to Merced Avenue, back down into the city. And then just kind of around the city. Kind of went up and down several times and finally back up and exited on Merced."

Officer Rodriguez said what made this chase unique was Houk had two young children in the RV.  And the children were not in car seats. In fact, Officer Rodriguez said they received a picture showing the three-year-old standing in the RV looking out the window during the pursuit. And that's what had officers more cautious during the pursuit.

"We couldn't just throw out a spike strip or even pit a pit maneuver one his vehicle, because our number one concern was for the safety of the children that were inside," said Officer Rodriguez.

About 10 hours after the original call officers said Houk turned down a dirt road and lead officers into an almond orchard off The 99 near Mercede Avenue. Officer Rodriguez said the dust cloud from the RV created zero visibility for the officers forcing them to give him more space.

"He possibly saw that there was a huge dust cloud, took advantage of it, positioned his vehicle somewhat underneath a tree and ran for it," said Officer Rodriguez.

Officer Rodriguez said after the chase officers found gun ammunition inside the RV.

As of Wednesday evening, Houk is still free and considered armed and dangerous. The only information law enforcement has is that he ran north from the RV. And officers ask if you have any information about Houk to call either 9-1-1 or local law enforcement.