A police chase ended in a fiery crash in Danville early Saturday morning, sending an eleventh grade high school student to the hospital with critical injuries and a shock wave through a community celebrating high school graduations.
At least five youthful occupants of an overturned vehicle – reportedly all freshly-graduated seniors from Monte Vista High School in Danville – were pulled from the wreckage by police who were chasing them a few short seconds before.
Details from police remain spartan, but witnesses report that Danville PD was chasing the car for alleged traffic offenses on Diablo Road near the Blackhawk Country Club at about 1 a.m. The car reached estimated speeds of 90 mph and sped through red lights before officers were left behind. At that point the fleeing car sheared the front end off a Tesla at Camino Tassajara and Crow Canyon Road, causing the primary car to roll over into some shrubbery and burst into flames.
“You could feel the warmth of the fire from across the street. It was huge,” area resident Dan Rogers, who was in the area at the time of the crash, told NEWS24/680 videographer Craig Cannon, who was also on scene within minutes.
One person crawled out of the overturned car while several others remained trapped inside. The occupants of the Tesla escaped injury.
The speeding car came to rest upside down outside a Starbucks outlet. A witness said the police arrived on scene and were seen and heard breaking glass and pulling multiple young people out of the fully engulfed car. Other first responders had to breach the Starbucks in order to reach the injured.
Seven patients were treated for various injuries with several of those patients transported to a local trauma center. The driver of the car, a Monte Vista junior reportedly driving a carload of senior girls at the time of the incident – suffered major injuries.
The roadway was eventually re-opened around noon.