SAN JOSE -- A 20-year-old driver in a stolen SUV, attempted to run down or collide with police officers four separate times during a single, reckless, high-speed chase late Sunday night. The strange pursuit ended when the young man lost control, plummeted into a ravine and died at the scene.
Authorities say the dark-colored Ford flew off the roadway and down into a Monterey Road incline in South San Jose. Four officers ventured down to find the driver, who had not been wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.
"We made contact with him and took him into custody. He was conscious and breathing," San Jose police Lt. Michael Sullivan told KGO-TV. "Fire (paramedics) were almost immediately on scene. They went down to tend to him. He stopped breathing and ended up dying down in the ravine."
The incident started when a San Jose patrol officer was in the midst of a vehicle stop in the area of Capitol Expressway and Towers Lane at 11:08 p.m. Suddenly the SUV, lights off, veered toward the officer who had to dive and roll over the hood of the stopped car to avoid being run over.
The nearly assaulted officer got into his patrol car and pursued the SUV onto southbound Hwy. 101 toward Blossom Hill Road. During the chase the SUV driver continuously flashed his lights and slammed on his brakes, in an attempt to make the officer behind him lose control, said police Officer Albert Morales, a department spokesman.
The suspect allegedly exited 101 at the Hellyer Avenue, made a quick U-turn and then drove head-on back toward the same officer, who had to quickly maneuver his patrol car to avoid a collision.
"He attempted to play chicken with the officer," Morales said.
The suspect got back onto southbound 101 and eventually picked up northbound Hwy. 85 and got off at Cottle Road, where he reportedly tried to ram another patrol car with the SUV. He did it again with another officer on Blossom Hill Road.
Eventually the suspect lost control of the speeding vehicle, jumped over the center median on Blossom Hill Road and descended into a nearby ravine.
Two teen girls
Morales said two juvenile girls who were passengers in the SUV were taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening. Police are still working to determine how fast the SUV and patrol cars were traveling during the pursuit and what relationship the girls had with the driver.
"This individual was really dangerous in the way he drove the vehicle," Morales said. "You can tell with the intent in wanting to do something to the officer and the need for public safety, getting him off the streets was of paramount importance."
Anyone with information about this collision is urged to contact the San Jose Police Department's Vehicular Crimes ¿unit at 408-277-4654. Persons wishing to remain anonymous may call the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867), or may go to www.TipSubmit.com and may be eligible for a reward.