Passenger dies after driver flees police

May 6, 2009 1:11:37 PM PDT
An Oakland man has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence in connection with a crash late Tuesday that killed a passenger in his car, Berkeley police spokesman Andrew Frankel said Wednesday.

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Frankel identified the driver as 22-year-old Jamar Devon Cleveland.

He said the passenger, whose name hasn't been released, died after the Cleveland fled from a traffic stop in Oakland and struck a tree on a Berkeley street.

The incident began shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday when an Oakland police officer tried to stop Cleveland's black Chevrolet Camaro near the intersection of 24th Street and San Pablo Avenue in Oakland, Frankel said.

The vehicle accelerated and Oakland police did not give chase, according to Frankel. He said that minutes later, a Berkeley police officer spotted the Camaro in the area of Stanford Avenue and King Street traveling at a high rate of speed with its lights off.

Another Berkeley police officer in the area of Shattuck Avenue and Blake Street also saw the vehicle a few minutes later. Shortly thereafter, at about 11:10 p.m., the vehicle struck a tree in a roadway median, Frankel said.

The driver and the passenger were still in the Camaro when emergency crews arrived, and both were transported to Highland Hospital in Oakland.

The passenger was pronounced dead at 12:39 a.m. Wednesday, Frankel said.

Cleveland suffered minor to moderate injuries and will be booked into Alameda County jail after his treatment is completed.

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