The bank robbery suspect who died Friday after his vehicle struck a tree during a police pursuit has been identified by the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.
Michael Parker, 45, of Sacramento died just after 5:00 p.m. when his silver car hit a tree on 30th Street, south of C Street, causing the vehicle to flip.
Sacramento police spokesman Officer Doug Morse said Parker entered a bank at 48th and J streets at 4:34 p.m. and passed a note to the teller demanding money and indicating that he would take hostages if his demands were not met.
Morse said police officers arrived quickly and the suspect drove off with officers in pursuit. The suspect entered the northbound Capital City Freeway at one point, where he reached speeds of 70 mph, then exited on 30th Street. On 30th just south of C Street, the vehicle, a four-door sedan, hit a tree.
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Morse said officers involved in the pursuit reported that the suspect ran red lights but traveled at moderate speeds on city streets, slowing at intersections.
“Any time we’re involved in a vehicle pursuit, it’s tense for everyone involved,” Morse said. “Our first priority is the safety of the public.”
It was fortunate, he said, that no one else was injured or involved in the crash.
Residents in the area of 30th and C streets were shaken.
“We heard the crash,” said Cheryl Uhl, who lives on 30th across from the crash scene. “I thought, ‘Oh, my God, they hit my car.’ It was so close.”
Uhl said she headed outside and saw police getting out of their cars with guns drawn. Officers told her to go back inside.
An ambulance crew arrived and wheeled a gurney over to the vehicle. “When they just went back, I knew the guy was deceased,” Uhl said.
“It’s very unsettling,” she said, noting that the body was still in the vehicle two hours after the crash. As police began to process the scene, Uhl said, she and a neighbor slipped down an alley and headed to McKinley Park.
Jack Stephens said he has lived on C Street, near the 30th Street intersection, since 1984. Motorists often continue down that stretch of 30th Street thinking it leads to another freeway entrance or Cal Expo, not realizing that it comes to a dead end.
Like Uhl, Stephens said he heard sirens and then what sounded like a bomb exploding.
When he went outside, Stephens said, “there was all this white smoke. It was a big cloud. You couldn’t see the freeway or the tree.”
Morse said there was no evidence of an explosive device.
“The sound (Stephens) heard was the vehicle hitting the tree and coming to a complete stop,” Morse said.