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Standoff Under Way on California Highway 101

Aired July 5, 2002 - 12:12   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Now, in California, the problem is a standoff, a pretty serious one on the California Highway 101 and our Miles O'Brien has been following this for us all morning. We want to get an update on how it stands right now. Still pretty much the same, or is there any new movement?

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Pretty much status quo, Fredricka, as we take a look at a live picture now from one of our affiliates there in the area. This one happened to be KGO, and let's listen in to the chopper pilot for just a moment, if we can. Is he there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They almost look like life preservers. I mean they're the right color. They're international orange.

O'BRIEN: He's referring to something, there's been some movement in the vehicle. If you look in the front seats, it appears to be something orange that is moving around, hard to say what it is. If you look mid right screen, almost just went out of screen, you see a little box there with a cord attached. That's the phone. The phone has not been used.

Thus far, there is no communication established with the occupants of the vehicle. The vehicle disabled clearly and the 101 blocked off now for several hours in the wake of this chase and standoff.

With us on line once again is Officer Richard Franklin with the California Highway Patrol office in Oakland. Officer Franklin, thanks for being with us once again.

OFFICER RICHARD FRANKLIN, CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY PATROL: Thank you.

O'BRIEN: Could you just bring us up to date on what we know now that we didn't on our last conversation?

FRANKLIN: Well right now, like you see, the SWAT team came up to the vehicle, did an approach to the vehicle to check on the occupants inside the vehicle and establish how many people were in the vehicle, and they dropped off a phone, two-way communication, so they can speak to and from the SWAT team and back to the people in the vehicle and vice versa.

O'BRIEN: Did they confirm there are two people inside? FRANKLIN: That's confirmed. That is two people inside.

O'BRIEN: All right, male, female? We know the driver is a male. What about the passenger?

FRANKLIN: Unknown. They didn't give us that information.

O'BRIEN: Was there any way for them to determine whether this was, in fact, a hostage situation or whether these were two people who were, I guess you would put them in the category of accomplices?

FRANKLIN: That was un-established as well. They just checked on the welfare of the occupants inside, just to simply make sure they are alive and they dropped off the phone and they walked back, and I guess they told the people on the inside they do want to talk to them.

O'BRIEN: All right, and as you can see, there's a spill emanating from the front of the vehicle there, the maroon vehicle with Tennessee plates. I'm curious, given the fact that there is some reason to believe that the driver doused himself with gasoline, what precautions are being taken, officer?

FRANKLIN: All precautions are being taken right now. We have fire departments on scene to make sure that if it is a fire, we can extinguish it as quick as possible. We have a tow truck there to get the vehicle out of the way, so we're taking all precautions right now.

O'BRIEN: So, the fire department is there not to take any sort of preemptive action. It's purely for potential response?

FRANKLIN: Right now yes, just in case something happens, the car ignites, anything like that. We're going to have them there so we can get it taken care of as quick as possible.

O'BRIEN: Well, this has the makings of a long-running scenario inasmuch as here we are now four and a half hours into it, and you still do not have communication with the driver. What's the big picture thinking on how long the patience will last?

FRANKLIN: Sir, right now that's unknown. Hopefully, they will corroborate and get on the phone and talk and maybe that can lead to us getting the suspect or suspects out of the vehicle and opening up the freeway.

O'BRIEN: All right, we've been talking to Officer Richard Franklin who's been very generous with his time this morning on a very busy morning in the Bay area, as we continue our coverage of this standoff, which has wreaked havoc with traffic in the Bay area on the 101, fortunately not the most heavily trafficked day of the year, but nevertheless a serious situation which has a ripple effect all throughout the Bay area, as the 101 remains blocked off. We'll send it back to Fredricka and we're watching it closely for you.

WHITFIELD: And thankfully, at least, that this chase took place so early in the morning.

O'BRIEN: Yes.

WHITFIELD: Very few people were on the road a day after the holiday.

O'BRIEN: High speed chase and at 4:40 in the morning local time, that's -- if there is a good time to have such a chase.

WHITFIELD: Right.

O'BRIEN: That is the time to do it.

WHITFIELD: All right, we're going to keep tabs on that. Thank you very much for watching that for us.

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