High-speed chase ends with crashes in S.F.

<p>A high-speed chase that started in the East Bay ended dramatically early this morning with both the suspect and a pursuing California Highway Patrol officer crashing their vehicles on the streets of San Francisco.

No one was seriously injured in the crashes, which occurred a little after 4 a.m. near the intersection of Sagamore Street and Orizaba Avenue, according to CHP spokesman Trent Cross.

Other CHP officers on the scene arrested Jorge Martinez, 28, of San Francisco and booked him on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of stolen property, false identification and evading the police, Cross said.

While being chased, Martinez lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a parked car, Cross said. Almost immediately afterward, the CHP officer hit a tree. Speed appeared to be a factor in the crash of the CHP vehicle, but the incident is being investigated, Cross said.

The chase started at 2:50 a.m., when officers arrested a man on suspicion of stealing a vehicle in Fairfield, according to a statement released by the city’s police department. While booking the suspect, police heard reports that a black sport utility vehicle was also in the neighborhood, allegedly in commission with the auto theft.

When Fairfield police officers noticed an Acura SUV driving slowly nearby with its lights off, they attempted to pull the vehicle over. At that time, Martinez, driving the SUV, quickly sped off, police said, going the wrong way onto the on-ramp of Interstate 80 before turning around to head west on the freeway.

As the chase moved from Fairfield, the local police officers called upon CHP patrols to track down Martinez.

CHP officers chased Martinez from I-80 to southbound Highway 101 and then to southbound Interstate 280, Cross said. The chase ended after Martinez exited I-280 in San Francisco near the Oceanview neighborhood in the southern portion of The City.

The entire chase lasted approximately 40 minutes, according to Cross. During the chase, both the pursuing officers and the suspect reached speeds more than 100 miles per hour, although it is unclear how fast the vehicles were traveling when they crashed in San Francisco, Cross said.

Following the crash, Martinez complained of mild back and neck pain. The CHP officer was unscathed in the crash, Cross said.

“We always encourage people not to engage in these chases,” said Cross. “You put yourself and the public at risk when you break the law like this.”

On Monday, San Francisco police officers pursued a man driving a stolen vehicle in The City’s Sunset district.

The chase ended when the driver, who earlier attempted to back over three officers, crashed his car into a pole on Ocean Avenue.

wreisman@sfexaminer.com

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