An East Bay mother was killed and her six-year-old twin sons were injured when the car was smashed into by a suspect fleeing police at high speed in the town of Rodeo.
The suspect, identified as 20-year-old Ralph Ellsworth White III of Vallejo, was driving an allegedly stolen white Mazda SUV around 7:20 p.m. when he was spotted by Hercules police. As NBC Bay Area reports, police gave chase and then lost sight of the Mazda on I-80 eastbound.
Police then came upon the car at the crash scene at 4th Street and Parker Avenue in Rodeo. The SUV had crashed into a gray Nissan in which a 31-year-old woman was driving with her two twin boys.
It's not clear how fast the car was going, but pictures from the crash scene suggest a pretty horrific impact.
ABC 7 reports that White allegedly fled the crash scene on foot but was quickly apprehended at a nearby liquor store.
The woman in the Nissan was killed instantly, and both boys were taken to Children's Hospital in Oakland to be treated for unknown injuries. NBC Bay Area suggested that one or both of the boys was airlifted to the hospital.
The victim has not yet been publicly identified.
Police departments in multiple jurisdictions, including Oakland, have prohibited such high-speed chases because of the high probability of injuries and fatalities resulting from law enforcement chasing often petty crimes. Just last year, two rookie Oakland cops were accused of chasing a car suspected of being involved in a sideshow, and that chase resulted in a deadly crash on International Boulevard that killed 28-year-old Lolomanaia Soakai.
As Rodeo resident and crash witness Clayton Winfrey tells NBC Bay Area, "The loss of life is just ridiculous. I don’t know whose fault this is. I mean when you have a high-speed pursuit sometimes you let the situation go, so, you don't have situations like this, but that's just my opinion."
The suspect, White, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, possession of a stolen vehicle, and pursuit causing death. He's being held at the Martinez Detention Facility.
Photo: Scott Rodgerson