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One Dead, Two Injured in Fatal Traffic Collision Involving Stolen Car, Rideshare Vehicle

On Sunday, Aug. 25 at about 1:21 a.m., a fatal traffic collision occurred on Lawrence Expressway at Poinciana Drive. A green-colored 1996 Honda Accord, which was reported stolen to the San Jose Police Department on Aug. 17, struck a gray-colored 2017 Honda Accord that was operating as a rideshare vehicle.

The rideshare vehicle had a male driver and was occupied by a male passenger and a female passenger. The suspect broadsided the rideshare vehicle and the impact caused life-threatening injuries to both passengers. The female passenger, a 28-year-old resident of Santa Clara, later died as a result of her injuries at a local hospital — she was later identified by the Santa Clara County Coroner as Carol Major. The male passenger, a 26-year-old resident of Sunnyvale, is still in critical condition. The rideshare driver, a 28-year-old Santa Clara resident, is being treated at a local hospital.

The suspect driver, Claudio Perez, 32, of San Jose, was arrested at the scene. He received treatment for minor injuries at a local hospital and then was booked into Santa Clara County main jail.

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Prior to the collision — on Aug. 24, at approximately 11:45 p.m. — officers from the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) located the suspect’s green Accord in the parking lot of a business in the 900 block of Duane Avenue in Sunnyvale city limits. Per Sunnyvale DPS, their officers established a surveillance on the vehicle and strategically placed a tire deflation device underneath the vehicle’s tire.

According to Sunnyvale DPS, at approximately 1:15 a.m. on Aug. 25, an adult male was seen getting into the driver’s seat of the suspect’s vehicle — later identified as Perez. Sunnyvale DPS officers moved in and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The suspect failed to yield and drove recklessly through the parking lot. Due to the reckless manner in which the suspect drove, their officers did not initiate a pursuit. The vehicle was last seen driving eastbound on Duane Avenue towards Lawrence Expressway.

At approximately 1:21 a.m., a Sunnyvale DPS officer driving northbound on Lawrence Expressway came upon a traffic accident involving the suspect’s vehicle in Santa Clara. Santa Clara Police Department traffic investigators responded to the scene.

The investigation showed that the rideshare vehicle, was making a left turn from westbound Cabrillo Avenue onto southbound Lawrence Expressway. The suspect was driving southbound on Lawrence Expressway when he ran the red light at the intersection of Poinciana Drive and broadsided the rideshare vehicle. Cabrillo Avenue and Poinciana Drive are the same roadway with different names on either side of Lawrence Expressway.

The impact of the collision resulted in both passengers suffering life-threatening injuries. The female passenger, only being identified as a 28-year-old resident of Santa Clara, later died as a result of her injuries at a local hospital. The male passenger, a 26-year-old resident of Sunnyvale, is in critical condition. The rideshare driver, a 28-year-old Santa Clara resident, is also being treated at a local hospital.

Perez was arrested at the scene. After receiving treatment for minor injuries at a local hospital, he was booked into Santa Clara County main jail on charges of murder, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs while causing an injury, evading a police officer, auto theft and probation violation.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident (Case Number: 19-825014) is asked to contact Traffic Investigator Nick Cusimano at (408) 615- 4764.

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