July 23, 2004
Oakland, Calif. Motorcycle Officer Killed in Hit-Run
Officer Down: William "Will" Seuis - [Oakland, California]
By Henry K. Lee, San Francisco Chronicle
A popular Oakland police motorcycle officer returning home from work
was struck and killed Thursday on a San Leandro freeway by a
hit-and-run trucker who was later arrested, authorities said.
Officer William "Will" Seuis, 39, of Pleasanton, a well-respected
15-year veteran, was in full uniform and riding his 2001
Harley-Davidson police motorcycle when he was hit at 2:11 p.m. by a
white 1996 Freightliner truck as it changed lanes on eastbound
Highway 238 at Ashland Avenue.
"The trailer did hit the officer, knocked him off his bike, and he
was pulled underneath the trailer's tires," said Officer Dan Hesser
of the California Highway Patrol.
Seuis died at 3:30 p.m. while undergoing surgery at Eden Medical
Center in Castro Valley. Fellow officers and relatives converged at
the hospital after hearing of the accident. Seuis leaves behind his
wife, Michelle, and their two young daughters.
"Will was loved and admired by his fellow officers," said Police
Chief Richard Word. "He was as steady as they come, someone any good
officer would want as a partner. Any chief would love to have a
department of Will Seuises.
"Our thoughts and prayers are now with his family."
Less than 15 minutes after the collision, a California Highway Patrol
officer spotted the truck on eastbound 580 near Hacienda Drive in
Dublin and stopped it, 14 miles from the scene of the crash. The
truck's license plate and description matched the one provided by
witnesses, Hesser said.
The suspect, Carlos Mares, 37, of Union City was arrested on
suspicion of felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter and booked
at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin. His truck was impounded and will be
examined for evidence today, authorities said.
Mares refused to speak to investigators, who must still determine who
was at fault, the CHP said. Even if motorists are cleared of
wrongdoing in such cases, "it's every motorist's responsibility and
duty to remain at the scene of a collision," Hesser said.
At 6:15 p.m. Thursday, a contingent of Oakland police and Alameda
County sheriff's motorcycle officers accompanied a county van with
Seuis' body inside to the coroner's office in Oakland.
Although Seuis was headed home after completing his shift, Oakland
traffic officers wear their uniform and are considered on-duty until
they arrive home with their motorcycles, officials said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
"He was a dedicated officer," said Oakland traffic Lt. Dave Kozicki.
"He was committed to the Oakland Police Department. He felt that what
he was doing as far as being a traffic officer was a valuable
contribution to police work."
Seuis was a veteran traffic investigator who worked countless
crashes, including high-profile cases such as one collision in which
a man plowed a speeding car into a group of children in January 2002,
only to ask about his future and not the status of his victims. One
Oakland police Sgt. Ersie Joyner said Seuis helped an Oakland police
basketball team win the gold medal several years ago at the Police
"He was a good-natured guy," Joyner said. "He wouldn't hesitate to
drop everything and help you out."
Thursday's crash backed up traffic as investigators closed southbound
Highway 238 for about an hour.