With Oakland Police officials insisting that no police chase preceded a Sunday evening North Oakland accident that resulted in the death of a 41-year-old Stockton woman, a North Oakland resident living within two blocks of the crash says she witnessed a police chase immediately before the fatal crash.
Monica Lucky was killed in the intersection of West MacArthur Boulevard and Martin Luther King Jr. Way when her Honda was struck by a Lincoln Continental driven by 21-year-old Oakland resident Kevin Jackson. Jackson, who was apprehended at the scene by Oakland police, was treated at a local hospital for injuries sustained in the accident, and is currently under arrest and charged with vehicular manslaughter. Several passengers in Jackson’s car fled from the scene on foot.
Asked in a telephone interview if a police chase preceded the fatal accident, Acting OPD Traffic Sergeant Vincent Fratangelo said, “No. No chase was involved in this one.” And asked by telephone if it was correct that no police chase immediately preceded the accident, OPD Lieutenant Paul Berlin answered “Right.”
But a neighbor who says she witnessed the incident from her North Oakland home says differently.
Software developer Amy Badore says she was looking out the window of her third floor home Sunday night and “saw a car going by really fast” on Martin Luther King Jr. Way near 37th Street, going towards the MacArthur Boulevard intersection. Badore says that immediately afterwards, “I saw a police car following with its sirens and lights on.”
Badore says that she was looking out the west window of her house, which faces Highway 580. She said that she heard an automobile crash and went to the south window of her house, which faces towards West MacArthur Boulevard. “I couldn’t see the crash scene itself, because four police cars had already surrounded the crash by the time I looked out,” Badore said. “But I saw a lot of people running away from the scene.”
Two days after the crash, following an Oakland Tribune article that reported on the accident but did not mention a police chase, Badore posted a comment to the Tribune article, writing that “This crash was a direct result of a police chase. I live 1 block from the intersection of MacArthur and Martin Luther King and saw the car going north on MLK followed by a police car.” When a followup-poster wrote that “I would certainly hope that any witnesses to the event would file their observations with the authorities,” Badore wrote back, “As far as filing observations with the authorities. Authority was following the racing car at 200 yards. Not to mention the 4 other OPD cars immediately following on the scene when the crash occurred. OPD knows EXACTLY what happened.”
The February 13 Tribune article listed a police number (510 238-3156) to call with any information about the accident. Badore says she called that number, but no one answered. She also says she has contacted the office of Councilmember Nancy Nadel, who has promised to investigate.
A staff member in Nadel’s office said that they have been informed by Oakland police officials that there was no police chase involved, but that the accident resulted from “a person roaming the streets at high speed who ran a red light.”
A Summary Of Facts of the accident by the OPD Traffic Investigation Department mentions no police involvement in the crash, but says that a police officer was a witness to the crash.
“At 19:40 hours an OPD officer on-viewed a collision involving two vehicles at the intersection of West MacArthur and Martin Luther King Jr. Way,” the summary reads. “The officer witnessed a Lincoln traveling northbound on Martin Luther King Jr. Way at a high rate of speed. The Lincoln failed to stop for the light at West MacArthur Boulevard and collided with a Honda which was traveling westbound on West MacArthur Boulevard.”
A report by the Bay City News Wire published on February 14 tells a slightly fuller version of the story.
“According to [Oakland Police Department spokesman Roland] Holmgren,” the BCN story says, “Kevin Jackson, who was on probation for robbery and drug-related charges, is suspected of hitting Monica Lucky’s vehicle after he nearly collided with an Oakland police patrol car and ran a red light. The police officer who was nearly hit by the suspect vehicle made a U-turn to try and pursue Jackson, but before the officer could successfully do this, the other vehicle collided with Lucky’s car, killing her, according to Holmgren.”
For her part, eyewitness Badore says she is not anti-police. “I really appreciate the job the police are doing in this neighborhood,” she said. “But it’s a little scary to have them doing high-speed chases here. It’s a very busy neighborhood. What if I had been riding on my bicycle or backing out of my driveway when this happened?” Badore also said that she found it “irritating that they’re not admitting they were chasing the car.”