By Henry K. Lee, Staff Writer
The San Francisco Chronicle
The evening commute on the Bay Bridge heading into San Francisco slowed to a crawl Wednesday after a California Highway Patrol motorcycle officer was struck and injured during a pursuit of a driver who apparently threw cocaine from his pickup, police said.
The chase started in East Oakland and continued nearly all the way across the upper deck of the bridge, until an Oakland police cruiser nudged the pickup and sent it spinning out of control, said CHP Officer Shawn Chase.
The 37-year-old driver, an Oakland man whose name was not released, tried to flee on foot on the bridge but was arrested, police said. The injured CHP officer, who was not identified, complained of pain to his thigh after being hit by an Oakland police car and was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, Chase said.
The incident began shortly after 4 p.m. on Fruitvale Avenue when Oakland police began chasing the Ford Ranger pickup, whose driver officers suspected of being involved in drug activity. As an Oakland police helicopter flew overhead, officers pursued the truck north on Interstate 880 from near 23rd Avenue onto Interstate 80 and the upper deck of the bridge, at speeds hitting 80 mph.
On at least two occasions, along I-880 near 23rd Avenue and near Seventh Avenue, the driver threw bags of what officers believe was cocaine out the window, said Oakland police Capt. Dave Kozicki. Police briefly shut down portions of the freeway to retrieve the suspected drugs, Kozicki said.
The chase continued across the upper deck of the bridge until nearly the Fremont Street off-ramp, where an Oakland officer in a patrol car intentionally nudged the pickup and caused the driver to lose control.
The CHP motorcycle officer, who had joined the chase, was rear-ended by another unmarked Oakland police car, knocking him down, police said. The incident forced the closure of three lanes near Fremont Street for an hour.
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