San Francisco News

SF taxi thief on the loose after high-speed chase, crash

Friday, April 05, 2013
SF cab chase ends at SFSU Cops searching for taxi thief who fled after chase

San Francisco police are searching for a man who stole a cab and refused to stop for officers. The suspect then led police on a high-speed chase that spanned several Bay Area cities before coming to a dramatic end at San Francisco State University.

Police are planning on reviewing surveillance video at the cab company headquarters. Each Yellow Cab has a dash cam that records what goes on inside the taxi and the road ahead. The company will not release that video to us, it's strictly for police. But they say are confident that video will help them identify and catch the thief.

The pursuit started around 1:15 a.m. Friday with a cab driver just trying to be nice.

"The taxi cab was parked in the Taraval District," SFPD Officer Gordon Shyy said. "He got out of his vehicle to help a passenger who was not feeling well. At that point, the suspect jumped into the cab and fled the area."

The man led police on a chase that reached speeds up to 100 mph. They went from I-280 to Highway 1, through Daly City, Pacifica, and back to San Francisco. The driver traveled through so many cities that CHP, Daly City police, and Pacifica police were all called to assist.

As he approached the San Francisco State, he slowed the Ford Escape taxi and ditched the cab as it rolled into campus barricades near Tapia Drive by the campus bookstore. Police took off after him towards 19th Avenue, but the suspect got away. Some students saw the end of the chase unfold.

"We were just riding around on campus on our longboards and we came right up here by the Humanities Building and we see this taxi cab roll up and this guy jumps out of it even before it stops," student Matt Krahling said. "And it just slams into the parking poles here and soon enough, a cop pulls up right behind him. He jumps out, they both start running up campus."

Tom Lanzone also drives for Yellow Cab. This is his 40th year behind the wheel of a taxi. He says he's seen a lot, but facts of Friday morning's event surprise him.

"It's just desperate people doing stupid things," Lanzone said. "You gotta be perceptive out here, who you let in the cab. I guess it somebody wasn't even a passenger, he just jumped in when he wasn't looking. You can't guard against that at all it's like a lightning bolt."

San Francisco CSI are collecting evidence from the taxi and are looking at dash cam surveillance video, which will be integral in catching the man who stole the cab.

"In 2013, there's video surveillance everywhere, so that's usually part of our investigation in any crime," Officer Shyy said.

Though police have not released a description of the suspect, witnesses say the driver was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a hat.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
daly city, I-280, highway 1, pacifica, SFSU, crime, crash, police chase, CHP, caught on tape, san francisco news
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