Bay Briefs

Monday November 26, 2001

Runaway bus causes havoc 

SAN FRANCISCO – A runaway Muni bus took out six cars, an electric pole and a fire hydrant early Saturday morning. 

No one was seriously injured in the incident, but the San Francisco bus was out of control for two blocks on Clay Street before coming to a halt. 

The driver apparently lost control of the bus due to wet roads from Saturday’s stormy weather. 


Man drowns in Carmel ocean 


CARMEL – Local authorities were unable to revive a man they pulled from the ocean Saturday afternoon after a witness called 911 to report the man had disappeared beneath the waves. 

Sgt. John DiCarlo of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Department said various local dive and rescue groups headed to Carmel’s Ocean Beach after the call came just before 1 p.m. 

“Someone called 911 and said a man wearing a wetsuit was in the ocean and was seen going under water and did not come back to the surface for over 5 minutes,” DiCarlo said. The man had not yet been identified by the Monterey County Coroner’s office Saturday night. 

Authorities spotted the man near some kelp about 100 yards from shore. California State Parks lifeguards swam out and brought the man back to shore by 1:15 p.m., found no vital signs and tried to resuscitate the man, DiCarlo said. 

The man was pronounced dead at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula shortly thereafter.  

DiCarlo said surf conditions were rough Saturday and recommended that beachgoers keep to the shore for the duration of the stormy weather. 


Richmond police fatally shoot man 

RICHMOND – Police officers fatally shot a man after he holed up inside a studio and threatened to kill his twin daughters. 

Police say Michael Anthony Valdez barricaded himself inside a studio he shared with his girlfriend. He then started threatening the couple’s 18-month daughters. 

Police say two officers were able to push through a door blocked by furniture and found Valdez holding one of the babies. 

Richmond police Sergeant Enos Johnson says Valdez was unarmed and he was shot Friday because the officers believed he was going to hurt or kill the child. 

Neighbors say Valdez had been threatening to suffocate the babies. Both were unharmed but taken to a nearby hospital for a checkup. 

Two motorcycle officers collided while en route to Valdez’ house. Neither were seriously injured. 


Photographer missing 

OAKLAND – A staff photographer with the San Jose Mercury News has been missing for nearly a week, police said Saturday. 

Family members and friends said they have not seen or heard from Luci S. Houston, 43, since Tuesday. Houston had planned to pick up a friend at from Oakland International Airport on Wednesday and to attend a Thanksgiving get-together Thursday, they said. 

Friends said Houston would call people she was assigned to photograph if she was running even five minutes late. 

The Washington, D.C., native has worked as a staff photographer at the Mercury News since 1993, and previously was a staff photographer for the Plain Dealer in Cleveland. 

“We hope that anyone with information about her disappearance will immediately contact the authorities,” said Joe Natoli, president and publisher of the Mercury News. 

The Oakland resident last was seen driving a 1999 black Chevrolet Malibu, with a California license 4ETX017. 

Houston is black, about 5 feet 2 inches tall and 140 pounds with a medium build. She has dark, short, braided hair, a slight gap between her two front teeth and dark brown eyes. 

Oakland police have asked for anyone who has seen Houston to call the Missing Person hotline at (510) 238-3352 or Sgt. Tim Nolan at (510) 238-3821 to help.