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March 24, 2006
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Woman shot dead in highway chase

Contra Costa Times

Highway Patrol officers shot and killed a woman in San Francisco early Thursday after she led officers on a high-speed chase from Concord and then tried to ram several CHP vehicles.

Authorities identified the woman as 31-year-old Antioch resident Karen Eklund. A Contra Costa County Jail prisoner who identified himself as Eklund's boyfriend said she had two children.

Investigators said pursuing officers fired several rounds into the woman's car when she tried to ram their vehicles in the city's Mission Terrace neighborhood. The woman died shortly after at San Francisco General Hospital.

The car, a white Ford 500 sedan, had been reported stolen recently in Sacramento.

The chase began just after 2 a.m. when a Clayton police officer spotted a stolen car in a supermarket parking lot and called neighboring Concord police.

A Concord officer spotted the car near Kirker Pass and Buchanan roads at 2:16 a.m. When it did not stop, he gave chase, CHP Officer Brian Land said.

Contra Costa sheriff's deputies briefly joined in the pursuit as the car went over Kirker Pass into East County. At one point, the driver steered into opposing traffic lanes on Port Chicago Highway, Sheriff's Lt. Charles Skuce said.

The CHP took over the chase at 2:35 a.m. near the Highway 4-Highway 242 junction, Land said. The pursuit continued onto Interstate 680, Highway 24, through the Caldecott Tunnel, into the MacArthur Maze and across the Bay Bridge, at times in excess of 100 mph.

The driver got off I-80 at Fifth Street and veered through city streets before getting on southbound I-280 at Sixth Street and then getting off at Monterey Boulevard.

The car ended up in a cul-de-sac on Santa Rosa Avenue near San Jose Avenue, police said.

According to San Francisco police, the driver then backed up and tried to ram her pursuers' cars. The CHP did not say how many officers fired, or whether they would be placed on leave pending an internal investigation.

The CHP, San Francisco police and the San Francisco District Attorney's Office will conduct separate investigations into the shooting.

''We're going to conduct a parallel investigation into the incident, getting information from the team and run side-by-side,'' CHP Sgt. Wayne Ziese said.

Antioch resident Matthew Owen Vining, 29, called the Times from County Jail in Martinez before authorities released Eklund's name and identified her Thursday morning. Vining has spent five months in jail on a weapons charge, records show.

''I love her and miss her and I hope God is with her,'' Vining said. ''She's a beautiful person. She's just had troubles. I wasn't out there to be with her. I guess she was struggling.''

Vining said his last contact with her was a card he received in the mail Wednesday night.

''She told me that she loves me and she's there for me even though we're in a time of struggle,'' he said.

Vining said Child Protective Services has custody of Eklund's two children.

''I just want to let the public know that she's not a bad person. Just bad decisions, I don't know,'' he added. ''I wasn't there. I don't know who's going to pick up the body or anything.''

Story Filed By The CONTRA COSTA NEWSPAPERS
Contra Costa Times (http://www.contracostatimes.com/)






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