A police pursuit that ended in Huntington Park when a car smashed through a warehouse wall exposed an illegal marijuana grow house inside early Friday morning.
About 800 plants were seized Friday, after authorities had earlier said only that there was an "operation" inside the warehouse.
Neighbors said they've smelled pot coming from the building for months.
"When I talked to the owner of the building, he was under the impression that they were storing vintage cars," said Adam Cohen, accounting manager at the Signorelli T-Shirt Company next door. "From the smell, I don't think those were cars."
The smell was so potent, said Lyndia Lipscomb, the HR director next door, that some employees thought it was a gas leak.
"Once I had an employee come in and tell me, 'You know, you need to call the gas company and find out,'" Lipscomb said.
The crash, which capped a pursuit by California Highway Patrol officers, left a gaping hole in the warehouse building's wall and the driver paralyzed.
The Volkswagen Jetta smashed through the side of the building on the 6300 block of Regent Street near the intersection of Regent Street and Gage Avenue around around 1:15 a.m.
It traveled about 120 feet into the building before it came to a rest, according to CHP Sgt. Richard Zavala. Water could be seeing flowing inside the building in the minutes following the crash.
The driver, in his mid-20s, was extracted from the car and taken to the hospital.
The driver is in custody and faces charges of reckless driving and evading. Officials are trying to determine whether he were driving under the influence at the time of the crash.
The pursuit began when CHP noticed a Jetta driver driving recklessly near Alameda Street and Florence Avenue. Officers tried to pull the man over, but he continued north on Alameda Street.
The man then hit a curb and a center divider near Gage Avenue, went airborne and crashed into the the vacant commercial building, CHP said.
Kevin LaBeach and Michelle Valles contributed ot this report.