Wednesday, September 23, 1987
Probe blames officer
NATIONAL CITY - An accident on the freeway transition road early Sunday was caused by a police officer going the wrong way in pursuit of a fleeing felon, a California Highway Patrol investigation has determined.
However, the officer is exempt from criminal charges in the case because there is no section of the California Vehicle Code that applies to an emergency vehicle operating with lights and seren on, according to CHP spokesman Lloyd Needham.
Three police cars from National City and Two from Chula Vista were in pursuit of a pickup truck stolen moments before in Chula Vista when a pickup driven by Michael G. Powell, 43, of Spring Valley, moved from State 94 to Interstate 5, clipped the bumper of the first police car, driven by National City officer Coley Davis.
Powell's truck then hit the center divider, flipped over and landed on top of a National City cruiser driven by Sgt. Don Berstler.
Berstler and Powell were treated for injuries and released from local hospital. Berstler's squad car was a total loss, according to National City traffic Sgt. Joe Coyle.
Coyle said last night that he could not comment on the CHP report because his department had not seen it. The department is conducting its own internal affairs investigation, Coyle said.
Powell said after the crash that his 1970 Ford pickup, from which he operates Mick's Mobile Repair, a vehicle-repair service, was a total loss.
David Andre Mitchell, 20, of San Diego, was arrested later Sunday by San Diego police on suspicion of driving the stolen pickup.