Police say BMW was racing before fatal accident
by Bob Brownne
Mar 02, 2007 | 1741 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Tracy police said Thursday that the fatal crash in front of West High School on Jan. 27 was the result of a high-speed street race.

Tracy police officer Steve Bailey said a man who saw the crash that night told police that the BMW that crashed into a pole had been racing a dark-colored pickup right before the BMW veered off the road.

West High student Mike Ucci died in the crash. The driver, Bret Clifton, lost both of his legs in the crash, and passengers Marie Ucci — Mike’s sister — and Justin Baker were also injured.

Bailey said the witness had been jogging around the West High School track at about 10:30 p.m. that night. Police will not release details of the investigation or information about the witness, but Bailey said that the man saw the crash, talked to officers afterward and also spoke to police in follow-up interviews.

At this point, police hope to find the driver of the pickup that is described only as dark-colored, in good condition and with a lowered chassis. It’s unclear if there was anyone else in the pickup in addition to the driver.

“We are looking into corroborating other information from the public,” Bailey said.

He added that the surviving victims of the crash have not provided any more information about the cause of the crash.

“The parties associated directly with the vehicle have not been completely cooperative with us,” Bailey said. “We have not been able to get any statements from them.”

Police announced the latest turn in the investigation Thursday afternoon, and families of the crash victims could not be reached for comment as of Thursday night.

Bailey said police have reconstructed the crash based on the condition of the car and skid marks on the roadway, but it is still unclear what caused the driver to lose control.

“Something caused the BMW to suddenly veer off the roadway,” he said.

It’s unclear if the two cars touched or if the BMW swerved to avoid the other car. Bailey would not say how fast police believe the cars were going, stating only that it was at least 65 mph.

He added that the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office is reviewing the case but has not indicated if charges will be filed against the driver.

To reach reporter Bob Brownne, call 830-4227 or e-mail brownne@tracypress.com.

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