Owner of stolen semi-truck that burst into flames during pursuit in Southern California left devastated

A semi-truck burst into flames in a pursuit that ended in Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 21, 2024. (KeyNews.TV)


The owner of a stolen semi-truck that led officers on a pursuit before bursting into flames is devastated after being left without a job or a way to support his family.

The victim, Edward Guardado, was driving from Los Angeles back to his home in Bakersfield when he decided to make a pit stop and fill up his truck at a gas station.

The container his truck was carrying was empty at the time. At the pit stop near 9500 South Union Avenue in Bakersfield, he entered a restaurant where two men had been watching him.  

“They saw that he had his back turned away and was not looking so they took advantage and just did it,” said Ruby Guardado, the victim’s daughter. 

A male suspect, Roberto Rivera, 25, quickly jumped into the truck’s driver’s seat and sped off on the southbound lanes of the 5 Freeway. 

California Highway Patrol officers spotted the stolen truck in Santa Clarita at around 11 p.m. Thursday night and attempted to pull Rivera over. When he refused, a pursuit began. 

  • A semi-truck burst into flames in a pursuit that ended in Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 21, 2024. (KeyNews.TV)
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • The charred remains of a stolen big rig that burst into flames during a pursuit on Feb. 21, 2024. (Guardado Family)
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • A semi-truck burst into flames in a pursuit that ended in Rancho Cucamonga on Feb. 21, 2024. (KeyNews.TV)
  • The male suspect jumping a fence after a fiery semi-truck pursuit on Feb. 21, 2024. (KTLA)
  • The male suspect being arrested after a fiery semi-truck pursuit on Feb. 21, 2024. (KeyNews.TV)
  • The charred remains of a stolen big rig that burst into flames during a pursuit on Feb. 21, 2024. (Guardado Family)
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

He led officers on an hours-long pursuit through several freeways and counties before spike strips thrown out in the Claremont area blew out the truck’s front tires, leaving the vehicle on rims. 

Rivera hit speeds of around 70 miles per hour, and at times, was seen swerving dangerously from side to side on the roadway. Sparks continued to ignite from underneath the truck before he eventually pulled over on the 210 Freeway near Rancho Cucamonga. 

That’s when the big rig suddenly burst into flames. Rivera was seen hopping out of the truck and running uphill on a nearby grass embankment to evade officers. He jumped a fence and ran into a housing complex to hide. Officers located the man shortly and he was taken into custody. 

As the truck was fully engulfed in flames, freeway traffic was forced to a standstill as fire crews worked to extinguish the blaze.

Eduardo said he still couldn’t believe his truck was completely destroyed. Photos of the vehicle show only large charred pieces of metal in the aftermath.

As the truck was his livelihood, he’s left struggling to make ends meet.

“I’m looking for another job,” Eduardo said. “I’m very stressed.”

“I think he’s just in shock and disbelief,” Ruby said of her father. “He still can’t believe what happened. He doesn’t even know what he’s feeling because he can’t imagine it actually happening even though it did happen.”

A GoFundMe page to help Eduardo and his family recover from the loss can be found here.

The suspect is being held on $100,000 bail. 

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