At about 8:25 p.m. Thursday, an Oakland police officer reported spotting what he thought was a stranded motorist in a white Honda Civic stopped near the intersection of 35th and West streets, Oakland police spokesman Jeff Thomason said.
The officer checked on the driver, and noticed some inconsistencies in his statements and that the man was acting nervous, Thomason said.
The suspect then put the car into drive and hit the officer, who was knocked to the ground. The officer only suffered bruises and scrapes, but was not able to report the incident before the vehicle had fled out of sight, Thomason said.
A description of the car was broadcast to all local law enforcement agencies, and at 5:08 a.m., another officer spotted the vehicle at West Grand Avenue and Isabella Street, he said.
The officer tried to stop the vehicle, which fled and got onto eastbound Interstate 80.
The pursuit ended about 25 minutes later when the man lost control of the vehicle, which went down an embankment on the right hand shoulder of the highway and crashed into a tree near Eastshore Highway and Virginia Street in Berkeley, Thomason said.
The driver was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at 6:40 a.m., he said.
Investigators believe the man is a 38-year-old parolee who also had a warrant out for his arrest. His name is not yet being released, Thomason said.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash since it occurred just off the highway, he said.