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Fremont cop hit by man driving stolen van

October 4, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
An intense manhunt is underway for a man Fremont police say intentionally ran down one of their officers.

The crash ended with a mangled police motorcycle underneath the front of a stolen van at the intersection of Warm Springs Boulevard near I-880. Dozens of heavily armed officers are still canvassing Fremont, looking for the driver near West Warren Avenue. Police have also set up a roadblock on Mission Boulevard, by I-880, about three blocks from where the officer was hit. Police believe the suspect ran into a business park in the morning, following the crash.

The motorcycle officer is in the hospital with very serious injuries, but recently his condition was upgraded to stable after he underwent surgery in the afternoon for his leg. He is a 10-year veteran officer of the Fremont Police Department and is a traffic officer. This officer was alert enough to radio for his own ambulance, saying he was trapped underneath the van that hit him.

It took rescue workers 15 minutes to extricate the Fremont police officer who was pinned under his motorcycle. Witnesses say it is amazing the officer was still alive.

"He was under the car... I would have to say almost 10 minutes. We were really worried that he wasn't going to come out at all," said witness Ian Horvath.

Hayward-based Ceva Logistics says an employee was on a delivery run when the unattended van was stolen in a residential neighborhood. Just 15 minutes later, the officer spotted the van not far away on Warm Springs Boulevard.

As the officer stopped in the center of the road, police say that's when the driver accelerated, intentionally aiming straight for the motorcycle. The van dragged the officer across two lanes of traffic, stopping only when he was pinned between the van and the street light.

"It was a forceful push all the way... It was like he was being scraped. The motorcycle was scraping the pavement," said witness Sharon Spencer.

Steven Huang and his coworker grabbed fire extinguishers from their office and ran out as soon as they heard the crash.

"Both of us ran out and just take all the fire [out] and then I saw this guy trapped with his leg," says Huang.

"We definitely believe that this just wasn't a traffic accident. When I say an intentional act... that the officer was intentionally struck by the suspect," said Fremont Police Sgt. Fred Bobbitt.

Fremont police are still reeling from the shooting of Officer Todd Young, shot in Oakland this August by a known gang member.

When this stolen van suspect ran into a nearby office complex, a full manhunt followed. Police had their weapons drawn as they searched the city and dogs helped search for a scent of the suspect. Armed officers even stopped vehicles as they entered and exited the freeway. They searched the backs of trucks, trunks of cars, and even local buses.

One anonymous witness said, "They have to pay for the consequences of what they've done and the fact that they ran, I just don't know how they can live with themselves for that."

The Fremont police are looking for a Latino man 25 to 30 years old, six feet tall with a medium build, last seen wearing a red sweatshirt and blue jeans, with a blue or black hat.

Police say they do have leads on his possible whereabouts and are searching for him right now.

Around 5:45 p.m. police stopped and started searching trains at the South Hayward BART station in connection with this manhunt, then let trains resume moving through the stations around 6:30 p.m.

Police took one person into custody that is believed to be associated with the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Fremont Police Department.


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