Richmond police identify man accused of crashing stolen car into bus

RICHMOND, Calif. -- Police are seeking the whereabouts of 24-year-old Richmond resident Richard Contreras who is suspected of driving a stolen vehicle that collided with an AC Transit bus and caused the bus to slam into a house, damage a gas line and injure at least 11 people in Richmond Friday evening, a police lieutenant said.

The collision occurred shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Friday when a Richmond police officer spotted a stolen maroon Honda, according to Richmond police Lt. Andre Hill.

The officer ran the car's license plates and determined it was stolen but had not initiated any lights or sirens when the vehicle sped away, Hill said

The car crashed into an AC Transit bus just a few blocks later at 18th Street and Burbeck Avenue, causing the bus to careen into a home in the 700 block of 18th Street, Hill said.

A woman and her two young daughters were inside the home at the time of the crash and suffered minor injuries. They were taken to a hospital for observation with injuries that were not expected to be life-threatening.

In addition, eight people on the bus, including the driver, were taken to hospitals with injuries not considered life-threatening, Hill said.

The home was severely damaged in the crash, and a city engineer has red-tagged the structure tonight, marking it as uninhabitable, according to Hill.

The home was part of a duplex, and the other half of the duplex remains inhabitable, but power was knocked out Friday evening.

The bus also sustained major to moderate damage, Hill said.

Of particular concern after the crash was a severed gas line, which caused police to evacuate other homes in the area until fire crews and PG&E could cap the line. The area has since been declared safe and residents were allowed back into their homes, Hill said.

Police took a juvenile passenger in the stolen vehicle into custody at the scene, but are still looking for Contreras, the driver of the vehicle, who is thought to be the older brother of the passenger.

Hill said Contreras is currently on felony probation for multiple stolen vehicle offenses and misdemeanor evading.

An officer at the scene observed Contreras fleeing the area. The suspect fled from the scene on foot and was able to eluded officers despite a search of the immediate area following the crash, Hill said.

Contreras stands 5 feet 11 inches tall and weighs about 150 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes, Hill said.

Anyone with information about Contreras' whereabouts or information about the crash is urged to contact Richmond police at (510) 233-1214.
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