A high-speed police chase ended tragically this week when a stolen van barreled into a dog walker at a California intersection, killing her and five of the six dogs she was caring for.
Jessica Bingaman, 41, of Long Beach, California, was returning from a local park on Tuesday morning when 43-year-old Javier Olivarez allegedly slammed into her small Ford SUV as he fled from police in a stolen van, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
Bingaman, a mother of one, had just stopped at a stop sign when Olivarez drove through the sign and came speeding towards her, the department said.
"Bingaman was transported to a local hospital by the Long Beach Fire Department and was later pronounced deceased due to major traumatic injuries sustained during the collision," the department said in a statement. "Six dogs were being transported in the 2013 Ford as part of a dog daycare service. Four dogs passed away at the scene and two were transported to a local pet hospital."
A fifth dog passed away at the pet hospital due to injuries sustained in the crash and the remaining dog has been released to its owners from the hospital, according to the department.
Police officers spotted Olivarez, who officials said is a career criminal and known gang member, in a stolen 2016 Nissan van a few blocks away from the crash site. The officers tried to conduct a traffic stop, but Olivarez took off, sparking a high-speed chase through a largely residential neighborhood, police said.
The pursuit ended with Olivarez slamming into Bingaman’s Ford Escape -- crushing it -- and careening into three parked cars, police said. He was transported to a local hospital with minor injuries.
Denise Thomson, who said she lived next door to Bingaman, said she was a popular dog walker who was dedicated to her 10-year-old daughter and her canine clients.
"I'll miss her," Thomson told ABC California station KABC. "She loved her daughter with all her heart, and she loved the dogs that she took care of."
"She loved the outdoors, she loved exercise, she loved yoga. Just happy-go-lucky," added Denise Lee, a friend of Bingaman.
A crowdfunding page has been set up for funeral arrangements and to help Bingaman's daughter go to college.
Olivarez faces multiple charges, including evading a police officer, felony DUI, vehicular manslaughter and grand theft auto, police said. He was being held at the Long Beach City Jail without bail.