On Tuesday, HLN’s Nancy Grace looked at some of the most intense and dramatic high-speed police chases in recent memory, including one that took place in the Los Angeles area in September, lasting more than an hour and covering about 40 miles.
It began around 10:00 a.m. on September 13 when three masked men allegedly robbed a Bank of America branch in Canyon Country, California. A fourth suspect was waiting in a getaway car outside, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The suspects fled in an SUV with an unspecified amount of money, and they were soon pursued by authorities. A sheriff’s department press release stated that the vehicle drove recklessly through the streets as the suspects inside threw cash out the window with police cars close behind.
News cameras showed civilians rushing into the street to try to grab the discarded money as the SUV passed, potentially getting in the way of the pursuing officers.
During the course of the chase, two of the suspects exited the vehicle and fled on foot. One was later arrested, but the other was not found.
Nearly 90 minutes after the start of the chase, the SUV became trapped by traffic on a residential street and the two suspects remaining inside were taken into custody.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, all three of the suspects arrested are believed to be Rollin’ 40s Crips gang members.
Phillip Ely, Lavelle Mosley and Terion Collins were each charged with four counts of second-degree robbery and one count of kidnapping to commit another crime. Ely was also charged with evading an officer and auto theft with prior convictions.
Ely’s attorney, Tracy Grayson, told HLN Tuesday that his client may have been driving the car, but he did not know he was going to be participating in a robbery.
“I really believe he’s innocent,” Grayson said. “I really believe he didn’t know what was going on...He’s just the driver. He never went in the bank.”
According to Grayson, Ely thought he was just being paid to pick someone up when he took the job. “In these kinds of economic times, I don’t think that’s unbelievable,” he said.
Grayson has listened to tapes of his client’s police interviews and he believes Ely sounds “very sincere.”
“He’s not trying to hide anything,” Grayson said.
Attorneys for Mosley and Collins could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
If convicted, the suspects could face life in prison. Their next court date is set for November 29.
Update, 11/28, 9:06 p.m.: Terion Collins' attorney, Donald J. Calabria, told HLN Wednesday that he believes his client had nothing to do with the robbery or the chase.
According to Calabria, authorities alleged Collins was one of the suspects who fled the vehicle in the middle of the chase, but he described Collins as an innocent homeless man who just happened to be in the area at the time.
“My investigation has shown that he may not have been involved in any way," Calabria said. "He was not in the car at the time of the arrest…We believe there’s a very good likelihood that he was not involved in the bank."
Calabria hopes to examine security video from the bank and the surrounding area to prove that Collins was not there.
"We believe they just got the wrong guy," Calabria stated. "Whoever left that car was not my client.”
Update, 11/29, 8:10 p.m.: Frank DiSabatino, attorney for Lavelle Mosley, said Friday that Mosley has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
For more shocking crimes caught on tape, watch Nancy Grace Tuesdays at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. on HLN.