Driver of stolen U-Haul van dead after wild police chase, jumping into bay


The driver of a stolen U-Haul van is dead after a chaotic police chase that ended with the man jumping into the San Francisco Bay early Thursday.

KTVU reported that Vincent Azama, 26, died a short time after the pursuit at San Francisco General Hospital.

The chase started shortly after midnight Thursday when police said the van failed to yield at a crosswalk in San Francisco’s Bayview District and sped off as officers tried to stop it. When the California Highway Patrol joined the chase, the driver slammed into an occupied CHP patrol car and drove away.

The pursuit continued until officers were able to deploy spike strips at Third and Marin St., causing the van to crash into a light pole at Third and Mariposa St.

When officers approached the crashed vehicle, the suspect reversed the van, crashed into two unoccupied SFPD patrol cars and sped off again, before coming to a stop at Third and Channel St. He then took off on foot, running under the Lefty O’Doul Bridge and eventually jumping into the water.

Police said the suspect wasn’t able to stay afloat and was rescued by several officers from SFPD and CHP. He passed away at the hospital after unsuccessful revival attempts.

An unnamed female passenger in the van was taken into custody without incident.

The van was later discovered to be stolen.

The incident remains under investigation.