HAYWARD -- A Union City man arrested Wednesday on suspicion of assaulting a police officer last week caused several car crashes, including one with the trailing police car, during the Hayward police chase that led to his capture, authorities said.
Solomon Cruz Espinoza, 22, of Union City, had been wanted by police since Feb. 14, after what authorities described as a "violent assault on an officer," in San Leandro, Hayward Police Sgt. Eric Krimm said. A Hayward police officer spotted him driving near Thelma Street and Memorial Way about 3 p.m. Wednesday, just before Espinoza took off through the residential area of Sueirro Street, running several stop signs at about 40 mph., police said.
Espinoza then veered onto Hesperian Boulevard, where he hit three cars and caused two to swerve off the road, Krimm said. A 48-year-old woman in a Toyota RAV-4 received minor injuries in the crash.
The officer tried to edge up on the side of Espinoza's vehicle as he swung onto A Street and attempted to jump out of the car at South Garden Avenue, at which point Espinoza rammed the police car, causing it to crash into a parked car.
Espinoza, along with an unidentified man and woman, jumped out of the car at South Garden and escaped from the scene on foot, Krimm said. The man jumped several fences before being caught on Marin Avenue by a police dog, who bit him on his right arm. The two passengers were never caught, police said.
According to Krimm, several of Espinoza's family members showed up at the scene and had to be escorted away by officers. Espinoza was booked into jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, along with his previous warrant for the same offense, and ¿on other charges of domestic violence, vandalism and assault on a police officer.
The assault on an officer occurred Feb. 14 after Espinoza was pulled over on Lewelling Boulevard in San Leandro on a suspected vehicle code violation, San Leandro Police Lt. Randy Brandt said. He also ran from the car in that incident, and the officer chased him on foot.
The officer grabbed him as he was climbing a fence near the Nimitz Motel, and Espinoza slammed the officer into a wall during the struggle, Brandt said. The officer then grabbed his shirt and tackled him to the ground, Espinoza continuing to fight as the officer put one handcuff on him.
Even after both of Espinoza's hands were cuffed, Brandt said, the man violently threw the officer back against the wall, and then turned and tried to grab the officer's gun.
As the struggle went on, Espinoza's girlfriend, identified by police as Vanessa Clark, came out from a motel room and approached the officer "in a threatening manner" while demanding that he release her boyfriend. As the officer attempted to deal with both suspects, police said the man continued to try to grab the gun before the officer shoved him away, and Espinoza ran off.
Clark was arrested on suspicion of threatening harm to a police officer and delaying an officer in the performance of his duties. The officer was scraped and bruised during the struggle.
The District Attorney's office charged Espinoza with assault with a deadly weapon Feb. 15. He remains in jail with an unknown bail status.