Sunday, August 06, 2006

Officer Down - Oakland CHP

From the San Jose Mercury News:

"CHP officer dies after hit and run accident in Oakland
By Leslie Griffy
Mercury News

A California Highway Patrol officer died Sunday after being hit by a driver who left the scene late Saturday night.

The officer, Brent Clearman, 33, was investigating an accident on Interstate 880 in Oakland near the 66th Avenue on-ramp when he was hit around 10:30 p.m. Saturday.

Officials, who announced at a 1 p.m. news conference Sunday that Clearman had died from his injuries, are searching today for two cars they believed were involved in the crash.

Clearman is the third CHP officer to die at work this year. In 2005, four officers died in the line of duty, one of those -- Lt. Michael E. Walkeron -- while investigating a Highway 17 crash on New Year's Eve.

Clearman was a former Marine who served as a sharp-shooter in Iraq.

Police are looking for a silver 2000 Pontiac Grand Am with California license plate number 5GAA778, and a severely damaged late '90s champaign color Buick LaSabre. The Buick hood emblem is missing, and driver's side grill is damaged.

While these type of accidents are uncommon, there is no state law requiring motorists to move to another lane when they see a CHP patrol car with lights flashing in the shoulder.

Nearly three dozen other states have such provisions, but Gov. Arnold Schwarenegger vetoed a similar measure after it passed the state legislature in 2005.

Some safety advocates argue that the laws prevent accidents like the one Saturday. Detractors argue it would do little to protect officers or other emergency workers and would only serve to increase traffic on the state's already impacted highways.

Anyone with information about either car or the accident is asked to call the CHP at (800) 835-5247."

San Francisco PD just buried Officer Nick-Tomasito Birco Wednesday.

I was listening to FireDispatch and heard the New Years Eve "officer down" call involving Lt. Michael E. Walker referenced in the Merc's article. He too was at an accident scene and was struck while laying down flares by another driver.



According to the San Francisco Chronicle, " The other vehicle, a silver 2000 Pontiac Grand Am, was located by Oakland police Sunday night, and its driver was taken into custody. The Pontiac had been stolen during a carjacking near the site of the hit-and-run and only minutes before the hit-and-run, CHP spokesman Officer Mike Wright said."

The article has more on Officer Clearman's death, including the photo. The article begins:

"When Brent Clearman was a boy, his sister recalls, he had two dreams: to be a Marine, and to join the California Highway Patrol.

"He always wanted to be a Marine, and he always had this fascination with the CHP from watching TV and movies,'' said Ann Marie Uyematsu. "CHiPs -- that was his favorite show.''

Her brother lived out the first dream and was in the middle of the second when he died Sunday of injuries he suffered in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 880 in Oakland."

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