A jury in Martinez today found that an east Contra Costa County transient who was killed in October when he crashed a motorcycle into a car while fleeing from Oakley police died by accident, according to Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee.The incident began at about 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 20 when an Oakley police officer spotted 32-year-old John Walters speeding at about 80 mph on a motorcycle in the area of Main Street and Delta Road in Oakley, Lee said at the time.The officer attempted to pull Walters over, but Walters allegedly fled, leading the officer on a brief pursuit.A few minutes later, the officer lost sight of the motorcycle and stopped the chase, Lee said.Several minutes after the first officer dropped the pursuit, a second Oakley police officer spotted the same motorcycle and again tried to pull Walters over, according to Lee. Walters sped away again, leading officers on a second chase.At the intersection of Laurel Road and Mercedes Lane, Walters reportedly ran a red light and smashed into a Ford Thunderbird that was making a turn, Lee said.Firefighters pronounced Walters dead at the scene.The occupants of the Thunderbird were not injured, Lee said.Once he was identified, police discovered that Walters had a no-bail warrant out for his arrest for a charge of an assault with a deadly weapon. He was also the prime suspect in several burglaries in Walnut Creek, Orinda and Lafayette.At the time of the crash, Walters was reportedly carrying a bag of jewelry and other items police believe were stolen, as well as tools commonly used in burglaries, Lee said.Because the crash involved police officers, it was investigated by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and the sheriff’s office.The finding today that the death was an accident followed testimony presented during a coroner’s inquest in Martinez, which Contra Costa County Sheriff Warren Rupf holds for all fatal incidents involving police officers in the county.During the inquest, jurors listened to testimony and then were asked to make a ruling on the manner of death, whether it was by accident, suicide, natural causes or at the hands of anther person.
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