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Officers release name of man who led police on pursuit in stolen big rig

48-year-old James Edgley of Victorville said he wanted to commit suicide by cop

Man arrested after hours long semi truck chase

WHITEWATER, Calif. - Authorities have released the name of man who led officers on a 3-hour pursuit in a stolen big rig on Tuesday. James Edgley is a 48-year-old man from Victorville and he's accused of stealing the big rig while in Barstow just before 8:45 a.m.

Deputies with the Victor Valley Sheriff's Station were told the stolen truck was seen  in the 24900 block of Cahuilla Road in Apple Valley. The truck had a GPS unit and deputies were able to track Edgley's location, but he failed to yield to authorities on Cahuilla Road, triggering the pursuit at about 10:30 a.m.

Edgley continued driving south on I-15 and the California Highway Patrol took over the pursuit near the Oak Hills area, deputies said in a release. He continued all the way past Riverside and Moreno Valley, before merging onto the 60 Freeway through Gilman Springs and Beaumont. 

The chase continued onto eastbound I-10, as the suspect eventually made his way onto Highway 62, driving through Morongo Valley in the direction of Yucca Valley. That's when he made a U-turn on Highway 62, heading back towards I-10.

The pursuit ended at about 1:40 p.m. when the suspect exited the freeway and parked at the Whitewater Rest Area off of westbound Interstate 10 in Whitewater.

Edgley exited the big rig after pulling into the parking lot and calmly surrendered on the pavement while authorities placed him under arrest. Officers told us that Edgley said he wanted to die and was trying to commit suicide by cop during Tuesday's pursuit.

Authorities said barrels of hazardous materials were found in the big rig's cargo, but Hazmat informed them that the content wasn't an explosive substance.

Initial Report

A man who allegedly stole a big rig on Tuesday morning surrendered to the California Highway Patrol at the Whitewater rest area after leading officers on a three-hour pursuit spanning from the Inland Empire to the Coachella Valley on Tuesday.

The suspect hasn't been identified by authorities yet. Upon his arrest, officers said he told them he wanted to die by committing suicide by cop. We also heard reports during the pursuit that he was in communication with police, saying he didn't want to go back to jail. 

The chase began in Apple Valley at about 10:30 a.m. The driver took the 15 Freeway and continued all the way past Riverside and Moreno Valley, before merging onto the 60 Freeway through Gilman Springs and Beaumont. 

The chase continued onto eastbound I-10, as the suspect eventually made his way onto Highway 62, driving through Morongo Valley in the direction of Yucca Valley. That's when he made a U-turn toward his eventual surrender in Whitewater.

We're waiting to hear more details about the suspect and why he was trying to evade authorities.

The stolen truck was carrying several barrels marked 'hazardous waste', but we don't know the exact contents of the barrels at this time. It's also unclear if the suspect knew what type of cargo was inside the truck at the time, or if the cargo had anything to do with the truck theft.

A Hazardous Materials team responded to safely remove the barrels from the truck.

Close-up video of big rig chase on HWY 62 from KESQ & CBS Local 2

KESQ and CBS Local 2 was on scene as the man turned the semi truck around on Highway 62, as he began to approach Whitewater where he eventually surrendered to the CHP.

According to authorities, the man was apparently in communication with officers during the pursuit, and said he didn't want to go back to jail.

We're working to get more specifics on the man's criminal history as officers book him into jail. KESQ and CBS Local 2 will have updates throughout Tuesday night.


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