TOPANGA CANYON—A suspect who led a California Highway Patrol officer on a brief pursuit through several canyon roads on Friday, May 20 was found less than an hour later in the back yard of a Topanga Canyon residence, threatening to kill himself.
At approximately 10 a.m. Friday, a 2016 GMC panel van with a U-Haul logo was driving the wrong way down Topanga Canyon Boulevard. The suspect missed several oncoming vehicles and Caltran crewmembers working in the roadway.
A CHP officer was holding traffic for the Caltran workers and pursued the van, attempting to pull the suspect over. The van continued south on Topanga Canyon Boulevard with the officer in pursuit.
The chase came to a halt when the suspect lost control of the vehicle and it spun out of control. The vehicle came to a complete stop, facing the wrong way on 1036 Fernwood Pacific Drive, according to authorities.
The suspect switched the car into reverse and drove backwards, slamming into a CHP Ford F-20 patrol truck, causing minor to the vehicle.
Authorities lost sight of the suspect somwhere between the Sunken Trial and Valley View Road. Officials discontinued the search around noon.
A Topanga Canyon resident flagged down a CHP officer less than an hour later, reporting a suspicious person in the backyard of 618 Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
The suspect, Joseph Henry Johnston, 25, of Winnetka, was identified as the same man from the U-Haul truck incident earlier in the day.
Authorities confronted Johnston and stated he was acting “erratically and confrontational.” He held a knife to his throat and threatening to kill himself.
Law enforcement officials were able to track down Johnston’s father, who arrived on the scene and talked his son into surrendering to authorities. Johnston was taken into custody shortly after 2 p.m. and a knife and hatchet were found in his possession.
He was charged with suspicion of felony evading and assault with a deadly weapon. Johnston was placed on a 72-hour hold for a psychiatric evaluation.