A 65-year-old woman taking a morning walk Tuesday was fatally struck by a speeding vehicle driven by a man fleeing from Pittsburg police, authorities said.
The suspect, identified as Aroldo Vela-Chavez, 26, of Concord, allegedly struck the Pittsburg woman in the area of West Leland and Golf Club roads. He was driving with a suspended license while on probation for a prior DUI arrest and has been taken into custody on suspicion of evading and hit-and-run, police Capt. Ron Raman said.
"My kids were there on that street corner with the crossing guard," said Carla Garvey of Pittsburg. "All he had to do was come down another 100 yards."
A police officer initially spotted Vela-Chavez speeding at about 7:45 a.m. on eastbound West Leland Road, according to police.
When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, Vela-Chavez accelerated and headed into heavy commute traffic, which police said led to the officer calling off the chase.
"The minute he attempted to pull that vehicle over, [it] fled at a high rate of speed," Raman said, adding that the officer "did not feel it was safe to continue to pursue that vehicle."
Less than a mile down the road from the officer, the vehicle struck the pedestrian walking along the sidewalk and then crashed through the fence at Delta View Golf Course, according to police.
The vehicle continued onto the golf course before Vela-Chavez abandoned the vehicle and attempted to flee, police said.
"I did hear scratching of the tires," said Pittsburg resident Sally Burris. "Then I saw the police come and circle around."
Officers later located Vela-Chavez on Dover Way, several blocks from the scene of the collision.
"As a result of his actions, there is someone deceased," Raman said.
Vela-Chavez is being charged with murder, vehicular manslaughter and felony evading. At this point, it is unknown if alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash, police said.
"What a shame, what a shame," Garvey said.
Pittsburg police will be investigating the case alongside the California Highway Patrol and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office.
West Leland Road was closed between Golf Course Road and Daffodil Drive for several hours as a result of the case, police said.