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LAUSD teacher accused of lewd behavior in custody after car chase

An LAUSD teacher suspected committing lewd acts on children took police on a chase ending with a crash into a tree on Tuesday, July 10, 2012.
An LAUSD teacher suspected committing lewd acts on children took police on a chase ending with a crash into a tree on Tuesday, July 10, 2012.

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A physical education teacher accused of lewd behavior with a former student is in custody today after leading police on a car chase through the South Bay, careening off the road and crashing into a tree.

The man was identified as Kip Arnold, an L.A Unified teacher at Southeast Middle School, said Gayle Pollard-Terry, a district spokeswoman. He has been a teacher with LAUSD for eight years and previously worked at Nimitz Middle School, Gage Middle School and Orchard Academies 2B.

A female former student walked into the Bell Police Department on July 5 alleging that she and Arnold were sexually involved while she was a student at Nimitz Middle School years ago, said Lt. Ty Henshaw, a spokesman for the Bell Police Department. The student is now an adult, he said.

The department notified the Los Angeles School Police Department and L.A. Unified and assigned detectives to watch Arnold, Henshaw said.

Arnold, who lives in Lakewood, was under surveillance Friday and from Monday through today, Henshaw said.

At 12:30 p.m. today Arnold left the house and got into his pickup truck and drove to a Chase Bank in Lakewood, Henshaw said. When detectives approached the truck, “he made some comment about being suicidal, rolled up the window and drove away,” Henshaw said.

Arnold led Bell Police, the California Highway Patrol and the Lakewood Sheriff’s Office on a chase down the 405 and 10 freeways and then onto the Pacific Coast Highway through Torrance before flying off the road, plunging down a Palos Verdes embankment and hitting a tree about 40 minutes later, Henshaw said.

He was transferred to the hospital and is in stable condition and will be released shortly, Henshaw said. Henshaw said Arnold is under arrest on suspicion of unlawful acts with a minor and whatever other possible crimes from today’s chase.

Henshaw said the department is not sure if there are other victims. “We’re hoping that if there are other victims that they come forward and call the Bell Police Department,” Henshaw said.

Pollard-Terry said Arnold is currently unassigned as school is out for the summer and he is currently on summer break.

People with information may call the Bell Police Department at 323-585-1245.

More details on the investigation.

This story has been updated.

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Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).