CHP: Driver in Minivan Committed Suicide, Not Drunk

By Lisa Fernandez
|  Thursday, Oct 10, 2013  |  Updated 1:32 PM PDT
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Deadly Crash Shuts Down I-80 Off-Ramp

NBC Bay Area

A suspected drunk driver died Wednesday morning after a short chase with the California Highway Patrol when he failed to stop near El Cerrito.

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Deadly Crash Shuts Down I-80 Off-Ramp

Car rolls down an embankment after officers try to pull it over on Interstate 80 in El Cerrito. Bob Redell reports.
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A minivan driver  suspected of being drunk and having car trouble on Wednesday morning in Richmond actually had killed himself with a gun before his minivan flipped over and he was pronounced dead, according to the California Highway Patrol.

CHP Officer Sam Morgan said on Thursday that the driver was "apparently distraught" and shot himself with a small caliber semi-automatic pistol just before 1:30 a.m. on westbound Interstate 80 at the Central Avenue offramp. At the scene, a CHP officer had first told NBC Bay Area that he suspected the driver was under the influence of alcohol because he was weaving on the highway.

The minivan did have tire problems.  According to the CHP report, the Kia Sedona minivan had tire troubles because the vehicle was grinding along on the road, when the driver veered into a concrete wall in the center divide. The minivan  flipped on its side. And the driver was pronounced dead.

The CHP report indicates that it was the gunshot, not the accident, that killed him.

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