Three UC Irvine international students from China led California Highway Patrol on a wild ride around LA last night 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 the 5, according to a CHP press release. Afterwards, they got on the 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 PCH.
All three students are enrolled at UC Irvine. Zhou, the driver, is enrolled in a program at UC Irvine Extension 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.
The female passenger reportedly said that she thought they were headed to Laguna, so maybe it'd help if the classes included Orange County geography lessons too.
But hey, at least Zhou's not a horrible driver. During most of the "high speed" chase, he observed traffic lights and laws and may not face as heavy of consequences as he would if he had just blown through the signals.
Zhou was released on $75,000 bail today, and has a court date preliminarily set on March 21.