Stolen car pursuit ends in deadly crash

Crash scene at 62nd and Foothill (SKY7-HD)

December 31, 2009 11:36:03 PM PST
The last day of the year ends with an innocent bystander killed in a crash in Oakland. A woman was killed Thursday morning by the driver of a stolen car trying to get away from police.

It was a police chase that lasted seconds. Two blocks later, it ended at 62nd Avenue and Foothill Boulevard in Oakland, leaving 63-year-old Barbara Mitchell dead.

The suspects were driving a light-colored Toyota that police say was stolen. Witnesses say the vehicle was going up to 90 miles per hour down the street when it blew through a stop sign and slammed into a white Saturn driving through the intersection.

Four people were inside the Saturn; the impact killed a woman inside. A blue parked car on the street was also hit.

"I'm just sad because there's so much going on," said Clara, a resident of the area. "The New Year hasn't gotten here yet and there's people dying already."

Oakland police say they launched the two-block chase when they saw the stolen car speeding.

"Officers made a U-turn to do an enforcement stop and it happened in a split-second," said police spokesperson Jeff Thomason.

Residents of the area say it is not uncommon to see police chasing after suspects. It is a problem some say poses a danger to residents, but others say they like the police presence.

Oakland police say their pursuit policy is simple.

"We can chase for pretty much anything here in Oakland as long as you consider a variety of factors -- the safety of the citizens and the public," said Thomason.

Mitchell's family tells ABC7 she was a grandmother who was just getting a ride to do some errands because she did not own a car of her own.