FREMONT -- An Emeryville man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence early Tuesday morning after he struck and killed a U.S. Marine who had returned from Afghanistan only last month, authorities said.
The motorcyclist was later identified as Lance Cpl. Andrew Silva, 23, a Union City resident who had just returned from overseas. Silva was married with a young son, according to a family friend.
About 1:10 a.m., an employee at a Taco Bell located about a mile south of the crash scene called police to report a drive-thru customer who appeared to be belligerent and under the influence, police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques said.
At one point during their interaction, the customer attempted to pay for food with a medical card, Bosques said. A description of the customer's vehicle -- a light blue Mini Cooper -- was sent to police. One officer driving south on Fremont Boulevard saw the car driving at a high speed in the opposite direction, Bosques said.
The officer made a U-turn and initiated a traffic stop, but the driver failed to yield and continued traveling north on Fremont Boulevard, she said. The Mini Cooper then struck a motorcycle on the road, slammed into a utility pole and fence and burst into flames at Fremont Boulevard and Decoto Road, police said.
Officers said Silva was thrown from the bike, which ended up in the parking lot of the Fremont Bank. Silva was pronounced dead at the scene.
South San Francisco resident Luis Masis, a longtime friend of the Silva family, said his son served in the Marine Corps with Silva and that he'd just returned from Afghanistan in February.
"We're very upset," Masis said. "He was very family oriented. A good dad and good husband."
The driver of the Mini Cooper -- identified by police as Alexander Yohn, 23 -- attempted to flee on foot to a nearby field, but officers caught him and arrested him on suspicion of DUI and resisting arrest, Bosques said.
Staff writer Katie Nelson contributed to this report. Contact Natalie Neysa Alund at 510-293-2469. Follow her at Twitter.com/nataliealund.