On Tuesday, August 6th at approximately 7:10am, a Palmdale deputy initiated a traffic stop of a driver in a red Honda Civic, after being flagged down by a victim who told him that the driver had attempted to run her off of the road, on 9th Street East, in the City of Palmdale.
The driver, 32 year-old Canyon Country resident Joseph Darling, yielded by pulling into the parking lot of the “7-11” at Sierra Hwy/Palmdale Blvd. The deputy exited his patrol car and approached Darling’s vehicle, issuing commands for him to turn off his engine. As he approached, Darling suddenly sped away, nearly running over two pedestrians walking across the driveway. Darling turned westbound onto Palmdale Blvd, and sped toward the 14 Freeway.
The deputy initiated a pursuit. Darling entered the southbound on-ramp of the 14 Freeway at a high rate of speed, and collided with the outer turn guard rail. He continued southbound on the 14 Freeway, as other Palmdale Sheriff units responded and joined the pursuit.
Darling continued southbound on the 14 Freeway at high speed, driving erratically. As he drove under the Sierra Hwy off-ramp overpass, he swerved, loss control of the vehicle, and spun out, colliding with the center median. The vehicle came to rest facing northbound, just north of the Soledad Canyon Rd exit.
Darling shifted into reverse, and drove in reverse, southbound scraping the center median, for approximately one quarter mile. Darling then stopped, and the pursuing units set up to conduct a felony suspect extraction.
Darling suddenly shifted into drive and drove northbound, toward the stopped units, in the wrong direction of freeway traffic. He drove past the stopped units, passing them along the center median. The deputies were maneuvering to reposition when Darling suddenly made a sharp left turn, apparently attempting to head for the Soledad Canyon Road freeway exit. As he did, he collided with the front bumper of a patrol vehicle. He continued to accelerate, and aimed his vehicle toward another patrol vehicle.
Darling collided head-on, with significant impact force, with the patrol vehicle occupied by Deputies. As Darling was attempting to reverse and continue fleeing, a deputy maneuvered his vehicle’s push-bar against the suspect vehicle’s driver door, blocking his escape and preventing further risk of injury to the deputies and public.
Darling was taken into custody, and transported to Antelope Valley Hospital for medical evaluation.
The involved deputies suffered minor injuries and complaints of pain.
The vehicle Darling was driving during this incident was confirmed to be a stolen vehicle, with a vehicle theft report call for service pending at the time of the pursuit.
Darling has a history of narcotics use, and exhibited signs consistent with being under the influence of a narcotic at the time of this incident. Early in 2013, Darling was released on AB-109 (Governor’s Prisoner Realignment Program) and violated the terms of his parole when he failed to meet with his parole officer in March. He is a wanted outstanding parolee, with an active no-bail parole violation warrant and was actively being sought by the department’s Parole Compliance teams.
Darling was booked at the Palmdale Sheriff Station on several charges: Assault with a Deadly Weapon on a Peace Officer with a bail amount of $50,000, Vehicle Theft with a bail amount of $30,000, Evading Arrest $75,000, Driving Under the Influence of a Narcotic $5,000, Driving with a Suspended License $500.00 and Parole Violation, No Bail. Darling is scheduled to be arraigned on August 8th, 2013 at the Antelope Valley Court House.
Palmdale Station Detectives are seeking the additional victims in this incident, specifically the female driver that the suspect attempted to run off the road, and the two pedestrians nearly struck in the “7-11” driveway. Victims are asked to contact Palmdale Station at 661-272-2400.