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Driver Leads Police on High Speed, Erratic Car Chase in Southern California

A driver tried to ram a Long Beach car, prompting an hour-long, high-speed chase Friday in which the woman drove the car in circles, went the wrong way on a tollway and even got out of the car to gesture at officers, authorities said.

The woman was arrested after about a 40-mile pursuit and could face charges of reckless driving, California Highway Patrol Officer Gabe Montoya said. Her name was not immediately known.

No injuries were reported, but the woman endangered motorists on four freeways, CHP officers said.

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The chase began when Long Beach officers went to an intersection shortly after 6 a.m. in response to a report of a woman screaming. A car tried to ram their police cruiser three times and then fled, Long Beach police Officer Jackie Bezart said.

After an eight-minute chase through Long Beach, the driver got onto a freeway and the CHP was notified.

Officers chased the silver Scion into Orange County at speeds that sometimes topped 100 mph, authorities said.

Television news helicopters carried the chase live.

On the SR 241 tollway in Rancho Santa Margarita, the woman made "doughnuts" while driving on both shoulders of the road, briefly drove the wrong way then got out of the car and gestured with both hands at officers before returning to the slowly rolling vehicle and driving off.

A short time later a patrol car rammed the back of the Scion, spinning it around and knocking off its bumper in an attempt to stop it, but the driver managed to flee again.

The car finally was stopped at the end of the tollway in an unincorporated area near Rancho Santa Margarita.

After being bumped a second time, the Scion was boxed in and swarmed by officers, including one who jumped onto the roof. The woman was pulled through the car's window, forced to the ground and handcuffed.