HEMET – A suspect was attempting to flee from Hemet police today when he lost control of his vehicle, which slammed into a tree, killing him and one of his two passengers, authorities said.
The pursuit began around 2 a.m. in the 100 block of Oakland Avenue, according to Hemet police Lt. Eric Dickson. He said a patrol unit spotted a vehicle that matched descriptions given by witnesses to several shootings in the area on Sunday.
An officer stopped the motorist and made contact with him and his two passengers. As the lawman spoke with the driver, the man unexpectedly threw his car into gear — nearly striking the officer — and sped away, according to Dickson.
Officers gave chase, tailing the suspect as he headed through southeast Hemet at speeds in excess of 100 mph, Dickson said.
“The police units were unable to safely match the suspect’s speed and dropped back,” the lieutenant said. ”The suspect lost control of the vehicle in the 400 block of East Whittier Avenue, nearly struck two bystanders, drove up the south curb of Whittier and struck a tree.”
Dickson said officers arrived to find the vehicle in flames. They initiated CPR on the driver and a female passenger and used fire extinguishers to contain the car fire until first-responders arrived, according to the lieutenant.
He said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene, and the woman died at the hospital a short time later. The surviving occupant of the car was hospitalized in critical condition.
None of the parties were immediately identified.
An investigation into the pursuit and weekend shootings was under way.