SAN LEANDRO

Auto theft suspect held after chase, crash

A Richmond man who tried to elude police after they found him driving a stolen car was arrested after crashing into a railroad crossing arm, police said Monday.

The chase and subsequent arrest began at 5:15 p.m. Sunday, when a San Leandro patrol car passed a Honda Accord on Alvarado Street near Williams Street. The license-plate reading equipment alerted the officer that the Honda had been reported stolen in Newark.

The driver, a 31-year-old Richmond man whose name was not released, pulled the Honda over near the San Leandro BART station but sped off as soon as the officer left his car.

The car then hit the rail crossing arms, shearing them off. The driver ran and tried to hide on Williams Street, but with the help of witnesses, officers and police dogs found him. He was taken to Santa Rita Jail.

Police are investigating whether the man may have been involved in other crimes in the area. Police said he had been paroled from prison recently and has a history of arrests involving stolen vehicles.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

DUBLIN

Officials urge care with fireworks

City officials warned buyers of "safe and sane" fireworks to be extra careful this dry year not to start wildfires.


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Dublin allows community groups to sell fireworks at 16 fundraising booths from noon Saturday through July Fourth, in contrast to most Bay Area cities, which ban the sale and use of fireworks.

Dublin police and firefighters say they will have extra patrols this year to crack down on illegal fireworks or improper use of safe and sane ones, which do not explode or fly through the air.

Dublin allows the legal fireworks to be set off between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. on July Fourth at four city parks. They include Alamo Creek Park on Dougherty Road, Dublin Sports Grounds on Dublin Boulevard, Emerald Glen Park on Tassajara Road and Shannon Park on San Ramon Valley Road.

Homeowners can set off the fireworks on their own property; however, they should only be lit in safe areas away from buildings, dry vegetation and other combustibles. A water source such as a fire extinguisher or water hose should be kept nearby.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff

RICHMOND

Big rig crash spills fuel on roadway

A crash between a big rig and a sedan near Richmond spilled fuel on the roadway and prompted a temporary closure of Interstate 80 near the Pinole Valley Road off-ramp Monday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash occurred at 3 p.m. on westbound I-80, prompting all four lanes to be closed, said Sgt. Jeff Thomas. No injuries were reported, but the impact of the crash caused the big rig to leak fuel, spilling about 10 gallons onto the freeway.

A traffic alert was issued as officials closed the freeway as well as the Pinole Valley Road off-ramp and on-ramp. All but one lane were reopened by 3:45 p.m., Thomas said. The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff

OAKLAND

Man pleads not guilty in beating death

Prince Tsetse, 40, of Oakland, pleaded not guilty Monday to a murder charge stemming from the beating death of a woman near Lake Merritt in April.

Tsetse is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Aug. 4 for a preliminary hearing on allegations that he killed Kimberly Robertson, 23. Robertson was found beaten to death at 6:40 a.m. April 5 in the 1900 block of Third Avenue, outside the Francis Marion Smith Recreation Center.

According to Robertson's Facebook page, she had recently moved to Oakland from Dallas, where she grew up. She was in a criminal justice program at Heald College in San Francisco and has a daughter who turned 3 in May, according to her Facebook page.

-- Bay City News Service

SACRAMENTO

Lawmaker agrees to ease sex offender bill

A San Jose lawmaker under pressure from juvenile justice advocates has agreed to ease a measure meant to toughen penalties for youths who sexually assault unconscious victims.

Sen. Jim Beall on Tuesday will move to eliminate from the legislation termed "Audrie's Law" the requirement that some juvenile sex offenders serve at least two years in a juvenile detention facility.

Instead, the bill will require that youths who commit any sex crime complete a sexual offender treatment program that juvenile court judges will have broad discretion to tailor to each offender based on the seriousness of the offense and the victim's vulnerability.

The Assembly Public Safety Committee is to consider the amended bill at a hearing Tuesday in Sacramento -- one week after a vote on the proposal was rescheduled because of opposition to the mandatory minimum sentencing.

Senate Bill 838 is named for 15-year-old Saratoga High School student Audrie Pott, who killed herself in 2012 after being sexually assaulted by three classmates who photographed her half-naked body during the attack and shared the images.

Supporters of the legislation say it's needed because Audrie's attackers got light punishments of 30 to 45 days served on weekends at county detention centers. It's impossible for the public to know the reasoning behind such sentences because juvenile court records are sealed.

Beall's bill also would require that court cases involving juveniles who sexually assault unconscious victims be open to the public, and it would allow prosecutors to enhance the sentences of assailants who take and share photos of sexual assaults.

Audrie's parents had strongly supported the required two-year sentence. They could not immediately be reached for comment on the amendments.

-- Jessica Calefati, Staff

ORINDA

Three people escape burning home in hills

Three people escaped a fire Monday morning that partly collapsed a two-story house in the Orinda hills, fire officials said.

The one-alarm blaze at the house on Tarry Lane began about 6:40 a.m., Moraga-Orinda Fire District spokesman Dennis Rein said. A resident sleeping downstairs awoke to the smell of smoke and saw flames coming through the outside deck. The resident rushed upstairs and woke the other two residents, and all three escaped before part of the house collapsed, Rein said. A father, his adult daughter and another adult male lived in the house.

The three found temporary housing with others and turned down offers of help from the Red Cross, Rein said. No other homes in the neighborhood were damaged, and nobody was injured fighting the blaze.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff