LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was one of the wildest and most dangerous pursuits ever to hit the streets of Los Angeles, and nearly two years later, the man who gained infamy from all the commotion is telling CBS2 News what life is like after the chase.
On a rainy afternoon in April of 2016, Herschel Reynolds and his passenger Isaiah Young had their 15 minutes of fame, fleeing police in a bizarre chase seen around the world.
In video of the pursuit, Reynolds is seen in a top-down, rented convertible Mustang busting donuts in the middle of rain-slicked Hollywood Boulevard.
It’s footage he’d rather forget.
“It’s not worth it. It can go as bad as — you’re fleeing, and you hit someone,” Reynolds recently told CBS2 News. “[You can] take their life. You can take your own life.”
And he should know.
After pleading no contest to a list of charges from that day, including burglary and hit-and-run, Reynolds served 10 months in prison. Since then, the former Marine Corps tactical driver was himself involved in a motorcycle accident that put him in a coma.
Reynolds said that incident put the chase even more in perspective for him.
While no one was hurt during his antics, he said he’s having to live with the consequences of what he did, beyond the jail time.
Now a convicted felon, it’s been difficult for him to find a job.
Another thing he could not outrun was the his family’s judgment.
“I was really disappointed in him,” Reynold’s wife Cristina told CBS2 after watching the footage again. “I expected more of him.”
“I hurt my family and my wife. It was nonsense,” echoed Reynolds.
That nonsense, Reynolds said, all started with a case of mistaken identity. He and Young were parked in the rented convertible in the city of Cerritos. Shortly after an alarm at a nearby house went off, he saw cruiser lights behind him.
“I’d been harassed by them before,” Reynolds said, referring to the police. “My dislike for police made me want to run, I guess.”
A pursuit ensued, and Reynolds ended up in Hollywood, lighting up TV screens across the Southland.
As to the donuts, Reynolds said it was his last chance to use his professional skills.
“My life was over, so me being a professional driver, I wanted to do some more donuts because I felt like it was my last time I was ever going to be behind the wheel of a car.”
Reynolds was discharged from the Marine Corps in Jan. 2016.
As if the chase wasn’t weird enough, when the pair became boxed in by a TMZ tour bus, Young grabbed something from the back seat and threw it at the vehicle.
“I had my passenger throw a chicken at the bus,” Reynolds recalled.
Reynolds ended up among neighbors in South L.A., where he was received with high-fives. It was at that point he received a call from an L.A. County Sheriff’s lieutenant who ended up talking him into surrendering to police.
“The detective, he did a good job in convincing me to stop and just get what I had coming, for lack of better words,” admitted Reynolds.
Because of his Marine training, Reynolds was in control of the car, managing to avoid hurting himself or anyone else.
Having survived his coma, Reynolds said he could empathize with those he could have hurt.
“I’m sorry to the drivers who had to experience that, donuts and swerving,” he told CBS2. “Anything can happen. Anything can go wrong.”