Martinez

Refinery acid spill injures two workers

Two workers suffered minor injuries Wednesday after an acid spill at the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery, according to a company spokeswoman.

The workers, who have not been identified, were flown to UC Davis Medical Center but have since been treated and released, said spokeswoman Tina Barbee.

According to Contra Costa Fire Protection District spokeswoman Lisa Martinez, the workers suffered burns after being exposed to a sulfuric acid spill.

The spill happened just after 2:30 a.m. in the refinery located at 150 Solano Way, Martinez added.

Barbee said all requisite agencies were notified of the spill, including the Contra Costa County Health Department, law enforcement, the Contra Costa Fire District and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

The production unit where the spill happened was shut down as part of the refinery's protocol response to a spill. The unit remained closed Wednesday.

The cause of the spill remains under investigation.

-- Katie Nelson and Rick Hurd, Staff

Contra Costa

County reports sixth flu-related death

Health officials reported Wednesday the flu death of a man in his 50s, bringing the number of fatal cases to six in Contra Costa County.

While officials confirmed the man died from flu-related causes, tests to determine whether he died from swine flu are pending, said Kate Fowlie, spokeswoman for Contra Costa County Health Services. Health officials reported that the man had underlying medical conditions but would not say whether he had been vaccinated.

The death is the 44th fatal case recorded in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz County. Santa Clara County has reported 14 flu-related deaths, Alameda and San Mateo counties have reported five, and Sonoma County has reported four. San Francisco and Santa Cruz counties have reported three fatal cases, Marin County has reported two, and Napa and Solano counties have each reported one death.

Health officials reiterated that this year's flu vaccine provides protection from swine flu and that the vaccine is readily available among all Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz. All residents over 6 months of age are urged to get vaccinated.

-- Erin Ivie, Staff

SACRAMENTO

Torlakson backs child abuse training bill

State schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced his support Wednesday for legislation that would require school districts to train employees in identifying and reporting suspected child abuse.

School employees are required to report suspected child abuse to police or Child Protective Services. Yet, school districts and county offices of education have not been legally required to train employees in how to identify signs of abuse or report it.

Assembly Bill 1432 authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, would make such training mandatory.

In a letter to Gatto, Torlakson referenced a Bay Area News Group survey, which found fewer than half of 94 school districts surveyed in four counties trained employees in identifying and reporting child abuse and neglect.

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

OAKLEY

City won't resurrect planning commission

City Council members have decided to hold off on reinstating a planning commission.

The council decided Tuesday that it prefers having a less formal advisory body weigh in on development and other land-use matters.

A previous council disbanded the city's original planning commission in 2009, saying there was less need for the standing group of five appointees because the number of new homes going up had diminished significantly.

Mayor Randy Pope recently brought up the idea of reintroducing an advisory group to the council, if not an actual planning commission, to give residents more of a voice in city government.

Council members on Tuesday also acknowledged that there is not the same need for a planning commission as there used to be because the large housing developments that kept the first one busy have been built.

The City Council is expected to vote on the matter in March or April.

-- Rowena Coetsee, Staff

Antioch

Trio arrested after chase ends in crash

Three people who led police on a chase, only to crash into three cars at an intersection, were arrested early Wednesday, police said.

The trio, two men and a woman, were not identified by police. They were captured after trying to run away from police after the wreck at the intersection of Lone Tree Way and Davison Drive just before 5 a.m. Police did not say where the chase originated, nor did they specify how long it lasted.

The chase began when police spotted a stolen vehicle and lasted for "several miles," according Antioch police Sgt. Desmond Bittner.

At the intersection, the car ran a red light and collided with three other cars, Bittner said.

A person in one of those cars was hospitalized with unspecified injuries, police said. Nobody else was hurt.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

Berkeley

Santa Rosa shooting suspect arrested

A man wanted for a gang-related shooting in Santa Rosa last year was arrested by the FBI and Berkeley police Sunday, authorities said Wednesday.

Samuel Fessemaye Tewolde, 30, of Santa Rosa, was wanted for attempted murder, weapons charges, conspiracy and racketeering charges related to a Sept. 5 shooting. Authorities did not release further details about the crime.

Tewolde remains in custody and appeared in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Tuesday.

The investigation of Tewolde was a joint effort of the FBI, the California Highway Patrol, the Santa Rosa Police Department, the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office, the Sonoma County Sheriff's office and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff

HAYWARD

Suspect killed in home invasion identified

The Alameda County coroner's office on Wednesday identified a suspect fatally shot during a failed Cherryland home invasion robbery as Michael Olachea, of Hayward.

Olachea, 25, was one of three armed suspects who reportedly forced their way into a home in the 21000 block of Western Boulevard on Sunday evening, demanding cash from a 23-year-old man who lived there, Sgt. Eric Melendez said.

During the holdup, the homeowner shot Olachea and a 26-year-old woman, who was also a suspect in the crime, police said. Olachea died at the scene.

An autopsy conducted Tuesday showed his cause of death was the result of multiple gunshot wounds, an Alameda County coroner's office spokeswoman said.

On Wednesday, police continued to hunt for the third suspect, a woman, who apparently escaped unharmed.

Both women ran from the home, but at 5:47 p.m., police dispatchers received a call from a hospital that a woman with a gunshot wound had been dropped off there. As of Wednesday, she remained hospitalized in critical condition and had not been arrested.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

SAN LEANDRO

Police looking for man who tried to lure girl

Police are looking for a man who tried to lure a Bancroft Middle School student into his car Tuesday.

About 9:25 a.m., the 13-year-old girl was approached by a man in a car as she was walking to school. The man pulled alongside the teen and told her that her mom wanted him to give her a ride.

The student refused and walked to school where she notified staff, who called police.

The suspect was described as a black male, about 30 years old and wearing a camouflage baseball cap. The suspect's car was similar to a black Chrysler 300 with tinted windows.

Anyone with information on the incident can call the San Leandro Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division at 510-577-3230 or contact the anonymous tip line at 510-577-3278.

You can also send an anonymous tip to San Leandro Police Department by texting the word SLPD and the tip to 847411.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff