A Barstow man allegedly attacked his wife in a vehicle Sunday on Interstate 10 in Banning, carjacked a Fiat 500, led the CHP on a pursuit to an off-ramp in Yucaipa, and ran into freeway traffic in an apparent suicide attempt, authorities said Monday.
Van Henry Moncrief Jr., 31, stepped into the path of a Mercedes in the fast lane, sustained "a glancing blow," and was arrested on suspicion of four felonies including attempted murder, according to the California Highway Patrol and inmate records.
CHP officers used a Taser to take Moncrief into custody, Darren Meyer of the San Gorgonio Pass CHP said. Moncrief was held Monday in Riverside and his bail was listed at $1 million.
The incident began about 12:40 p.m. Sunday when Banning police received a report of a vehicle off the road at the eastbound 10 and the 8th Street exit.
As officers responded they learned a woman inside the vehicle was being attacked by a man, Banning police said in a statement.
When Banning police and CHP officers arrived, "there was an additional victim that witnessed the vehicle drive off the roadway and he stopped to help," police said.
"When this elderly male approached the vehicle to help, he found a male adult choking a female adult inside the vehicle," police said.
The witness confronted the aggressor, who released the woman, turned and attacked the witness, and knocked the witness to ground, police said.
The suspect then took the elderly man's car and fled before law enforcement arrived, according to police and CHP accounts.
"Shortly after the suspect carjacked the second victim, CHP spotted the vehicle driving westbound on the I-10 freeway," police said.
The carjacked vehicle was a gold 2011 or 2012 Fiat 500, Meyer said.
A pursuing CHP officer executed a PIT maneuver to stop the Fiat at the top of the Live Oak Canyon-Oak Glen Road off-ramp in Yucaipa, Meyer said.
The suspect, who "stated to dispatchers he was suicidal," got out of the Fiat, jumped down an embankment, landed in some bushes, and ran into traffic, Meyer said.
He stood in the fast lane on the 10 waiting for a car to hit him and taunting motorists, Meyer said.
A motorist in a Mercedes could not avoid him, the suspect sustained a glancing blow, got back on his feet, and as CHP officers closed in he "yells that he has a gun . . . as he's running down the freeway," Meyer said.
CHP officers shot him with a Taser stun gun and took him into custody, Meyer said.
The pursuit was over at 1:49 p.m. and the suspect, identified as Moncrief, was arrested at 1:52 p.m., according to Meyer and inmate records.
It was determined Moncrief is married to the woman he allegedly attacked, police said.
The alleged attack began while they were traveling in the moving vehicle on the 10, which resulted in the vehicle leaving the roadway and crashing into some vegatation at or near the 8th Street off-ramp, Banning police Chief Leonard Purvis said in a phone interview.
The woman was taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs for treatment of injuries that were not considered life-threatening, Purvis said. An update on her condition was not available Monday.
Moncrief was booked on suspicion of carjacking, inflicting corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, cruelty on a dependent adult with great bodily injury, and attempted murder, according to inmate records. He was held Monday at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He has a court appearance scheduled Wednesday in Banning.
The 8th Street junction with the 10 in Banning is about 15 miles east of the Live Oak Canyon Road exit in Yucaipa, and about 85 miles east of Los Angeles.