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Name of kidnapping suspect released

Posted: July 5, 2016 6:19 p.m.
Updated: July 5, 2016 6:19 p.m.
Firefighters transport a man from a crash Monday to a hospital. Photo for The Signal by Rick McClure. Firefighters transport a man from a crash Monday to a hospital. Photo for The Signal by Rick McClure.
Firefighters transport a man from a crash Monday to a hospital. Photo for The Signal by Rick McClure.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station on Tuesday released the identity of a man who was arrested a day earlier on suspicion of kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

Sean McClelland, 45, of Newhall, was arrested after he allegedly threatened to torture family members with a machete and then drove a family pickup truck off the side of a cliff – more than 500 feet down an embankment.

For more than an hour Monday, McClelland eluded firefighters in the steep hillside brush south of Templin Highway off the northbound lanes of Interstate 5, near the freeway’s upper crossover after the pickup truck he was in crashed, officials said. McClelland was taken into custody Monday afternoon and held on $100,000 bail.

McClelland, who was injured, was placed in a Los Angeles County Fire Department helicopter and taken to a hospital. A man, identified as the young man’s father, was also injured and taken to the hospital, said SCV Sheriff’s Station Lt. Rob Hahnlein.

Dispatchers at the Los Angeles Communications Center received multiple 911 calls reporting a vehicle had gone over the side of the freeway on northbound lanes of Interstate 5, south of CHP Road, north of Castaic, California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Greengard said Tuesday.

“Arriving units determined it was a domestic violence, kidnapping and attempted murder/suicide,” he said.

“Prior to driving over the side, the driver pushed one occupant out of his vehicle and drove away with one passenger still in the vehicle, against their will,” Greengard said.

According to the CHP, some motorists reported seeing the driver of the truck drop a woman off just south of where the vehicle went over the cliff, according to the CHP.

“The driver drove about 1 mile before he intentionally drove off the roadway and down a 500-foot mountainside,” he said. “The passenger was critically injured.”

The driver received minor injuries. 

The driver fled on foot and was allegedly armed with a machete, Greengard said.

Several witnesses to the rollover crash made their way down the embankment on foot in an effort to get to the overturned vehicle, according to the CHP.

A Fire Department helicopter scoured the crash site for a young man believed to have been driving the truck.

The freeway was intermittently closed for about five minutes three times to facilitate the landing and takeoff of a Fire Department helicopter taking Sheriff’s Department personnel to the scene to arrest the driver. 

Northbound lanes of I-5 – the fast lane and the lane next to it – were shut down to facilitate emergency personnel, Greengard said. Those lanes were reopened at 2:35 p.m. Monday.

Investigators are exploring the possibility drugs may have been a factor in both the family dispute and the crash.

McClelland was arrested June 24 on suspicion of making criminal threats, according to arrest documents maintained by the LASD’s Inmate Information Center.


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