Owner of stolen cars describes fatal Orinda chase

January 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The Moraga woman who owned two stolen cars at the center of a fatal crash in Orinda told ABC7 she followed the suspects for four miles before giving way to police. ABC7 has agreed not to reveal the car owners' name out of concerns for her safety. She told us she discovered one of the family cars, a 2010 Subaru SUV, missing from her driveway Tuesday morning and reported that to police.

Later that day, when she was picking up her kids from local schools, she spotted another of the family cars, a Ford Truck near her son's school, Joaquin Moraga Intermediate on Camino Pablo in Moraga.

"When we turned left approaching the school my daughter noticed that she saw our truck," said the woman, "and I quickly flipped a u-turn and called 911."

The family didn't realize it, but apparently the same thieves who stole the Subaru returned Tuesday during the day to steal the family's Ford truck, also sitting in the driveway.

"Then I saw our Subaru that had been stolen earlier and I was thinking 'I hope the police get here very soon,'" said the owner. At that point, the woman and her daughter followed the Subaru and the Ford north on Moraga Way toward Orinda. All the while, the woman told ABC7 she was on the phone with police dispatchers describing their location. As the cars neared Glorietta Blvd., police took over the pursuit. A few minutes later, the Ford Truck slammed into a power pole near the intersection of Camino Pablo and Miner Rd. in Orinda.

Jimmy Lee from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department says the Moraga police officer pursuing the truck had lost sight of it just before the crash. The driver, a 27-year-old woman, was killed instantly in the collision. The Subaru SUV was later found running and abandoned in the driveway of a home on Hidden Valley Rd. in Lafayette. At least one suspect got away.

The Subaru has already been returned to its owner in Moraga, who says she has no idea why her cars were targeted by the thieves.

"It's a random act," she said. "I think it's unfortunate that someone passed away, but I'm thankful that no other innocent people were hurt."

PG&E reports that all but a few dozen of the customers who lost power after the crash have had their service restored.


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