Fruit vendor killed in Oakland

June 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
In Oakland a man who just happened to be selling fruit on the side of the road was killed Tuesday night during a police chase. It happened in East Oakland this evening at the intersection of 106th Avenue and Foothill Boulevard.

Oakland Police say the driver of a stolen car lost control on Foothill Boulevard and in the car's path was a father of four who supported his family by selling fresh fruit.

The crashing end to a police pursuit also marked the end of the life of a fruit vendor. Like he did everyday, Juan Vasquez was on an Oakland street corner trying to make a living, when a driver of a stolen car lost control and crashed into him.

Ana Sanchez, Vasquez's niece, arrived hoping it was all a mistake.

"I don't even know what to think right now. I hope it's not him. I haven't seen him," said Sanchez.

As family members continue to process what happened, so too are Oakland Police, who say the driver of the stolen car that crashed, was evading an Oakland Public Schools Officer. Police say the driver lost control when the chase picked up speed.

"From the street there it looks like there was a mechanical failure on the vehicle. It looked like some piece of metal on the car started cutting into the roadway," said Lt. Demetrio Lozares from the Oakland Police Department.

All of this is shocking to neighbors, who are stunned that a friendly fixture of the neighborhood died in such a senseless way.

"I see him every morning out here selling strawberries, he's out here all day, everyday faithfully. It's sad really that you got to see this kind of stuff happening in your neighborhood. There are a lot of kids and things living out there. It's just really sad," said Tei Williams an Oakland resident.

As for the suspect, he along with four of his passengers were transported to Highland Hospital with minor injuries.


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