Innocent driver killed in San Bernardino crash involving police chase of reported stolen car

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Police said an innocent driver was killed in a crash involving a reported stolen vehicle being chased by officers in San Bernardino.

An innocent driver was killed in a crash involving a reported stolen vehicle being chased by police in San Bernardino.

It all started shortly before 4:45 a.m. when a patrol officer ran the plates of a 2015 Nissan Sentra, which turned out to be stolen. That's when the pursuit began.

The car was traveling northbound on Base Line Street at a high rate of speed, said Lt. Rich Lawhead with San Bernardino police.

Lawhead said the car blew through red lights heading westbound on 30th Street, got on the southbound SR-259, then on the SR-215 connector, then exited off 5th Street.

The suspect attempted to get right back on the interstate, but that's when his car t-boned the bystander's car around 4:36 a.m., Lawhead said.

The innocent driver died at the scene and was identified only as a man in his mid to late 30s. He was a contractor at a rail yard less than a mile from the crash scene and was on his way home from work when the collision happened.

Family members and a co-worker stopped by the scene to retrieve belongings from the car.

"It affects the officers deeply when something like this happens. As much as we want to catch a criminal, we sure as heck don't want some innocent person hurt," Lawhead said.

No officers were believed to have been injured in the incident.

The driver, 18-year-old Damian Garcia, and the passenger, 21-year-old Ricardo Cerda, were both treated for minor injuries and arrested. They were transported to a local hospital for complaints of pain.

They were expected to be booked into the West Los Angeles Detention Center after they are medically released, Lawhead said.

"Pursuits have been looked at for a number of years. We have to strike a balance. We want to get the victim's property back. We want to stop the criminal from committing the crime, but we don't want innocent lives lost in the process," Lawhead said.

Police believe that the driver in the reported stolen vehicle was under the influence. Lawhead said the car he was driving was stolen during a separate incident on Monday after someone removed the keys from the car owner's home.

Related Topics:
police chasestolen carman killedcar crashcrashtraffic fatalitiesSan BernardinoSan Bernardino County
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