Carjacking Suspect Pleads Not Guilty To 19 Counts

Crash at Malibu Canyon Road

The carjacking suspect who fled from authorities and caused multiple crashes on PCH during the Monday morning commute pleaded not guilty to more than a dozen charges stemming from an alleged crime spree earlier that morning in Pacific Palisades

He faces a possible life sentence if convicted on all charges.

Bryan Thomas Cruz, 44, faces 19 counts, including four felony counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of carjacking and two counts each of first-degree burglary from the incident on Aug. 11. 

Around 7:40 a.m. on Monday, Cruz allegedly broke into a woman’s home in Pacific Palisades, held her at knifepoint and forced her to drive him toward San Fernando Valley, according to police. 

The woman intentionally crashed her vehicle near Palisades Charter High School and Cruz managed to carjack another vehicle, but he crashed that vehicle a short distance later, according to police and prosecutors.

Cruz then allegedly broke into another home and forced a woman to give him the keys to her vehicle. He proceeded to drive north on PCH and reached Malibu before hitting multiple vehicles, ultimately crashing and ending in police custody. 

Two people injured in the accidents in Malibu were flown to hospitals, officials said. 

The criminal complaint states that Cruz had prior convictions between 1989 and 1995 for burglary, robbery and forcible rape. 

His bail has been set at $2.6 million.