San Leandro resident Cathy Davies was on her way to dinner in Pelton Center on Thursday April 26th when she walked into a police foot chase that led to the arrest of a suspected car thief who allegedly left a trail of accidents in his wake.
But let's not get ahead of this fish story, which began as Davies was about to enter the restaurant with her father and 96-year-old grandmother, also of San Leandro, plus an aunt who was visiting from Oaklahoma.
Suddenly, four San Leandro Police officers ran up, guns pointed in the air, yelling about searching for a suspect, Davies said.
So she and her family skedaddled back into their car and drove out of Pelton Center, turning right onto East 14th Street.
A few blocks south, Davies saw a dark sedan crashed, head-first, into a light pole on her side of East 14th. It looked as if the car had crossed the median stripe. Its driver's door was wide open, she said.
That being enough excitement for one night, the family went to dinner at on Marina Boulevard.
Police Department spokesman Lt. Jeff Tudor filled in the missing details.
On the evening of April 26th, a San Leandro police officer spotted a car that had been reported stolen and tried to pull it over.
The car sped off. A brief chase ensued. It was called off because it wasn't safe, Tudor said.
The fleeing car apparently rear ended another vehicle and ended up crashed on East 14th Street, where the suspect took off on foot, Tudor said.
Officers arrested a 28-year-old Richmond man who was hiding on the passenger floorboard of a black Chevvy Tahoe parked in Pelton Center, Tudor said.
The suspect has been charged with auto theft, hit-and-run, resisting arrest and other charges.
Davies, a 26-year-old barista at Zocalo Coffeehouse, was glad to hear that police made an arrest.
But the incident did nothing to reassure her visiting aunt, who had grown up here.
"We were trying to show her that San Leandro wasn't any different," she said, adding that now "she probably thinks it's like Oakland."