Berkeley police detained three people following a chase through the city on Wednesday afternoon that ended with a crash on Highway 24 in Orinda, authorities report.
Scroll to the bottom of this story for an update
The chase began just before 1:50 p.m. in downtown Berkeley, said Officer Byron White, BPD spokesperson, when a bike patrol officer saw a vehicle he recognized as wanted. The vehicle had been stolen at gunpoint during a recent Oakland carjacking and police said they are also investigating a possible tie to robberies this week in Berkeley. The bike officer followed until other units arrived.
“A patrol vehicle got behind it and that’s when the car took off,” White said.
Police pursued the driver along University Avenue through central Berkeley onto Ashby Avenue and Shattuck Avenue, White said. Within minutes, the driver had gotten onto Highway 24 heading east in an effort to escape, he said. An airplane from the California Highway Patrol’s Golden Gate division also assisted in the pursuit.
“The hell is going on on University Ave. in Berkeley?” a Berkeleyside reader asked on Twitter at 1:52 p.m. “A dozen cop cars just went by, sirens on, driving on the wrong side of the road.”
Shortly after 2 p.m., the vehicle crashed on Highway 24, White said, and police took all three of its occupants into custody. No further information about them was available as of publication time.
According to radio traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside, the driver had hit another vehicle on the freeway during the chase. The collision damaged the Chevy and police prepared for a foot chase: “He’s losing his tires,” an officer said over the radio.
White said Berkeley police are investigating a possible link between the vehicle and several crimes on Tuesday evening that took place in quick succession: at 6:12 p.m., a thief stole a laptop from someone at Caffè Strada; at 6:15 p.m., there was a robbery at Shattuck Avenue and Kittredge Street; and at 6:21 p.m., someone stole a cellphone from someone on University Avenue and Kala Bagai Way.
White said the suspects’ vehicle, a white Chevrolet Cruze, had been taken Monday during a carjacking at gunpoint in Oakland.
He cautioned that the investigation is still underway and there is much work that remains to be done.
As of publication time, freeway traffic had been significantly impacted on Highway 24 as police worked to resolve the situation.
At 2:30 p.m., at least two of the vehicle occupants were being taken to Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley for assessment, according to radio traffic reviewed by Berkeleyside. After being detained, the driver was “complaining of head and chest pain and feeling dizzy.”
At 2:35 p.m, police said they planned to open the right two lanes of eastbound traffic on Highway 24. They planned to keep the left two lanes closed until further notice.
Update, Sept. 30: Police ultimately arrested a 16-year-old boy from Berkeley on suspicion of evading police and possession of a stolen vehicle. Two teenage girls who were in the car were later released to their parents: “OPD is investigating whether the driver was involved in the carjacking and BPD is continuing its investigation into any possible involvement in our recent robberies.”
Berkeleyside updated this story as more information became available.