2 die during Calif. police pursuit of stolen car
Two men were killed in a fiery head-on crash early Sunday as the driver of a stolen vehicle tried to evade police by heading into oncoming freeway traffic, according to a California Highway Patrol spokesman.
An off-duty San Francisco police sergeant began following a 1997 Volkswagen Jetta at about 5:45 a.m. because it was swerving and driving erratically on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco, said CHP officer Shawn Chase.
San Francisco police ran a license plate check and found that the car had been stolen last week.
The sergeant, whose name Chase and other officials did not release, followed the car at normal speeds onto U.S. Highway 101 and then Interstate 280.
After two marked San Francisco police cars joined the pursuit, police signaled the Jetta to stop, the driver began to slow down, but then suddenly accelerated and made a U-turn into oncoming traffic near the John Daly Boulevard exit in Daly City, Chase said.
The Jetta drove north at more than 70 mph in the southbound fast lane for almost a mile before hitting a 1994 Nissan Sentra head-on, Chase said.
The Jetta flipped, ejecting the driver, and caught on fire.
Both drivers, each of whom was driving alone, were killed on impact, Chase said. Chase and coroner's office officials have not released the drivers' names.
All southbound lanes of Highway 280 were closed after the crash, backing up traffic for a couple miles, Chase said.
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