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Man escapes police chase, dies jumping off overpass

A man died Friday night when he jumped off a state Highway 37 overpass in Vallejo at the end of a police vehicle pursuit, a police lieutenant said.

James Edward Lawson III, 34, of Vallejo, was driving a 2001 Audi A4 sedan when a police officer tried to pull him over for reckless driving around 10:15 p.m., Lt. Herman Robinson said.

Lawson accelerated and drove from southeast to northwest Vallejo, at times on the wrong side of surface streets, Robinson said.

When an officer tried to cause the Audi to spin out, Lawson allegedly swerved and hit the officer’s patrol car. The officer forced the Audi into a guardrail on the Highway 37 overpass to Mare Island and the Audi stopped, Robinson said.

Lawson escaped the Audi through the passenger side window and jumped over the guardrail. He fell about 75 feet below and landed in a paved lot below the bridge just west of Wilson Avenue, according to Robinson.

Lawson suffered major head trauma and officers performed CPR, but the Vallejo Fire Department pronounced him dead at the scene, Robinson said.

Police found narcotics in Lawson’s possession, Robinson said.

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