Driver Of Stolen Van Dies In Fiery Crash In East Oakland Neighborhood; 2 Officers Hurt – CBS San Francisco

OAKLAND (CBS SF) — The driver of a stolen van being tracked by police was killed in a fiery crash in an East Oakland neighborhood after hitting a spike strip Wednesday. Two police officers were hurt trying to rescue the driver.

Oakland police said officers were dispatched to the 8400 block of Ney at about 10:45 am and located the occupied stolen van. The officers set up spike strips to try to demobilize the vehicle and avoid a pursuit. However, the van drove off after hitting the spike strip.

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Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said the van was not being actively chased by patrol units but was being tracked by a police helicopter.

With damaged tires, the van continued to drive west for about two miles and the tires caught fire. The van then smashed into the fence of a home at 63rd Ave and Avenal Ave becoming engulfed in flames.

Wreckage of a burned van is seen in the area of ​​63rd St. and Avenal Ave. in Oakland, March 2, 2022. (CBS)

“Once those tires caught fire, the entire van was engulfed in flames,” Armstrong said. “The individual inside the van was unable to extract himself from the van. Officers immediately when they got on scene attempted to extract the gentleman from the van. Unfortunately, he died as a result of the fire.”

Two officers were taken to the hospital for treatment of burns and injuries from trying to rescue the driver, police said.

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Residents nearby heard helicopters hovering above and saw the van on fire.

“We just saw the helicopters flying around earlier and then we just eventually saw smoke and we walked around the corner,” said an unidentified neighbor. “We just saw the truck on fire, and I didn’t think nothing of it. I just figured it was just a fire and I just went back home, but obviously, it’s more to it than that.”

The wreckage was later covered by a tarp. A large area around the van was cordoned off and evidence markers littered the ground around the scene.

The fire also burned the damaged fence and a vehicle on the other side of it. Armstrong did not identify the suspect and said the van also was carrying some sort of accelerants.

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The driver was not identified.

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