By Charles Lam
Three University of California Irvine international students from China led California Highway Patrol on a wild ride around Los Angeles on the night of Feb. 20 during a pursuit that, according to CHP, broke 120 miles an hour and lasted about 40 minutes.
Yuan Zhou, an 18-year-old Irvine resident and Chinese national, was arrested at approximately 9:15 p.m. after a CHP cruiser nudged Zhou’s white BMW 7 series sedan. The student had gotten his California license only two months prior.
“I believe they’re all Chinese nationals,” CHP Sgt. Elizabeth Van Valkenburgh reportedly said following the arrest.
The students caught CHP’s attention after passing a cruiser while headed northbound on I-5, according to a CHP press release. Afterwards, they got onto I-10 and headed westbound, “weaving in and out of traffic, using the right shoulder to pass vehicles and driving at speeds up to 122 mph.” The car finally stopped on the Pacific Coast Highway.
All three students are enrolled at UC Irvine. Zhou, the driver, is in a program that prepares international students to enroll in a full undergraduate degree program, according to UC Irvine spokesperson Laura Rico. The program includes ESL language classes, test prep, cultural education, and personal counseling.
Zhou was not a completely lawless driver. During most of the “high speed” chase, he observed traffic lights, according to the CHP.
Zhou and his two passengers, Wangshuang Zhou and Lu Chen, were taken into custody, but only Zhou was arrested. The passengers were released, according to the CHP. Zhou was charged with felony evading and taken to jail. He was released on $75,000 bail on Feb. 21, and has a court date preliminarily set on March 21. (end)