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CHP high-speed pursuit turns fatal

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet Staff
Thursday March 15, 2001

The California Highway Patrol’s high-speed pursuit of a suspect alleged to be driving erratically ended at San Pablo and Ashby avenues in the death of a 33-year-old man from San Francisco, police said. 

The victim was not involved in the chase. 

The incident began in Richmond a little before 1 a.m. when CHP officers spotted a car driven by a man whom they allege appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.  

The officers chased the suspect, Lyle Eric Norbert, 41, down San Pablo Avenue through the cities of Richmond, San Pablo, El Cerrito, Albany and Berkeley, said Lt. Russell Lopes, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department. The speed was clocked at 85 mph, Lopes said. 

The Highway Patrol has the primary responsibility for patrolling the freeways, “but they can go anywhere they want,” Lopes said. HE said San Pablo and Ashby avenues are state highways. 

The victim, Theodore Resnick of San Francisco, was making a left turn from San Pablo onto Ashby when the car he was driving was hit by the car driven by the suspect, Lopes said. 

When asked about the Berkeley Police Department’s rules about high-speed pursuit, Lopes characterized it as “a very strict pursuit policy.” He declined to go into the policy in more detail. “I do not want to get into a question and answer about the pursuit,” he said, explaining that “the media” was trying to compare the BPD and CHP’s regulations and he did not want to do that until after the investigation into the incident was compete. 

Norbert, who lives in San Francisco, is in police custody, charged with felony hit and run, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs and fleeing police officers. Lopes said. Berkeley police are likely to push for vehicular manslaughter charges against him for Resnick’s death, Lopes said.