By Danny Bernardini
VACAVILLE — A man died Friday after being shot by a Vacaville police officer on the side of the freeway, then leading officers on a pursuit and slamming into another vehicle.
Lonnie J. Taylor, 21, of Sacramento, died of his injuries after being taken to Kaiser Permanente Vacaville Medical Center, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Eastbound Interstate 80 was completely closed for about an hour just west of Midway Road in Dixon starting at 3:40 p.m. as officers and investigators pieced together what happened. Four motorists were taken to a hospital after the crash that backed up traffic for hours.
One lane reopened, but the remaining lanes were shut down for another 90 minutes.
Police were first summoned to Walmart on Helen Power Drive when they received a report of two people suspected of stealing a television. Employees relayed to police the suspects’ license plate number, and dispatchers traced it to a car registered in Sacramento, Vacaville police Lt. John Carli said.
Officers then set up on I-80 on-ramps and saw a tan 1995 Lincoln Mark VIII with a matching license plate enter the freeway from Leisure Town Road, Carli said. An officer made a traffic stop on the vehicle, which carried two people, about a mile east of Leisure Town Road, he said.
Carli said a confrontation of some kind occurred when the officer approached the vehicle and at least one shot was fired. The driver of the vehicle, later identified as Taylor, was shot at least once and drove away from the scene, Carli said.
A pursuit followed in the fast lane, Carli said, never reaching high speeds due to heavy traffic typically found on a Friday afternoon. CHP reports that the Lincoln hit the center freeway divide and crashed into a 2012 Honda Odyssey minivan occupied by three people. Carli said that crash occurred at “normal” highway speeds.
Two of the minivan’s occupants were taken by ground ambulance to NorthBay’s Vaca Valley Hospital with minor injuries.
A 2003 Ford Ranger pickup truck also sustained damage during the crash, but the driver was not injured, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Chris Parker.
Both Taylor and the passenger in the Lincoln, later identified as Elizabeth M. Ilar, 18, of Sacramento, were arrested and Taylor was taken to the hospital. Initial reports indicate that Ilar also was taken to the hospital, although Carli couldn’t confirm how she was injured. A news release from the city of Vacaville shortly after the incident indicated that Ilar was shot in the hand.
The Solano County District Attorney’s Office will investigate the officer-involved shooting. No officers were injured, Carli said.
— Glen Faison contributed to this report. Reach Danny Bernardini at firstname.lastname@example.org