A person died Wednesday morning after the tires of the pickup truck they were driving caught fire, eventually causing the vehicle to be engulfed in flames, as they fled from police in Oakland, authorities said.
Officers found the van, which had been reported stolen in the city, in the 8400 block of Ney Street shortly after 10:45 a.m. case the driver tried to flee, Oakland Police Chief LeRonne Armstrong said at a news conference.
However, when officers attempted to approach the driver, the person drove off and the van’s tires were damaged. Patrol cars did not follow the van, but a police helicopter reported sparks flying from the van’s tires as it traveled about two miles through town, Armstrong said.
“Unfortunately, in the van were other accelerators,” Armstrong said. “Once those tires caught fire, the whole van was engulfed in flames.”
The van caught fire and crashed into a fence surrounding a house, photos and video of the scene. Armstrong said it was unclear what type of accelerators were found inside the van.
The driver was trapped inside as flames consumed the van. Officers attempted to extinguish the fire and save the person, but were unsuccessful.
The driver, who was not identified, died at the scene. Two officers suffered burns and other injuries during the rescue attempt. They were taken to hospital, police said.
The Oakland Police Department Internal Affairs Division, Criminal Investigations Division and Community Policing Review Agency are investigating the situation.
“We did everything we could, it seemed, to prevent a lawsuit from happening,” Armstrong said. “Unfortunately, this incident ended in the most tragic way.”
Los Angeles Times