Speed a factor in crash, police say

A speeding driver who died in a crash on the Bay Bridge early Saturday morning after weaving in and out of traffic was identified as Richmond resident David Catlett, authorities said Sunday. Catlett is the second motorist to die on the span within a week.
“Definitely, speeding was involved in both these accidents. It’s unfortunate,” California Highway Patrol Officer Shawn Chase said Sunday.

In the latest crash, 35-year-old Catlett was driving east on the bridge in his 1994 Honda Civic at a high rate of speed and using all lanes to pass slower moving traffic, the California Highway Patrol reported.

About 12:05 a.m., Catlett made a series of unsafe turns, which made him lose control of his vehicle, witnesses told the CHP. He struck a call box and then a concrete pillar and then hit a Dodge Dakota that a 31-year-old Daly City man was driving.

Three eastbound lanes were blocked for about three hours while the incident was investigated and the area cleaned. All lanes reopened around 3 a.m.

Chase said there was no indication of alcohol or drugs at the crash site, but toxicology tests from the Coroner’s Office would determine whether intoxication was a factor. The tests will take at least two weeks, he said.

Last week, Jerell Puno, 22, of Fairfield, was allegedly intoxicated and driving his 2005 Subaru Impreza on the bridge just east of Treasure Island at more than 100 mph when he rear-ended a 1995 Mercedes E420 with three men inside.

The crash killed 21-year-old Scott Leister, of Castro Valley, a passenger in the Mercedes. Both cars spun out of control after the crash and struck the bridge’s southern railing, where the Subaru burst into flames, authorities said.

Puno escaped the burning vehicle and was arrested. The impact trapped Leister in the back seat of the Mercedes, where he died, CHP officials said. Puno was later charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and driving under the influence, according to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office.

Witnesses said that Puno was driving recklessly before the crash.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

Bay City News contributed to this report

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