The Contra Costa Sheriff announced Tuesday that the death of Hannah Meecham, the driver of a stolen vehicle who was killed during a November police pursuit, has been ruled an accident by a coroner’s jury.
The coroner’s jury reached the verdict after hearing the testimony of witnesses during the public ‘coroner’s inquest’ hearing Tuesday.
A coroner’s inquest, which the Sheriff convenes in fatal accidents involving peace officers is a hearing in which a jury rules on the manner of a person’s death. Jury members choose between “accident, suicide, natural causes or at the hands of another person, other than by accident” when making their finding.
Meecham, a 19-year-old Livermore resident, was behind the wheel of a stolen vehicle that was being pursued by officers on November 29, 2015 at approximately 1:10 am.
Police initiated the pursuit when an officer observed a white four-door Honda driving recklessly and roll a curb while attempting to enter the I-680 freeway from El Cerro Boulevard in Danville. The vehicle continued on the freeway at speeds up to 90 MPH as officers chased. In San Ramon, the vehicle exited the freeway, where it continued on surface streets at speeds over 70 MPH while running red lights.
Authorities say the vehicle left the roadway and hit a tree before coming to rest on Camino Ramon near the Bishop Ranch 1 office complex. Meecham was ejected from the car and was pronounced deceased at the scene after officers attempted CPR to save her life. Police later discovered that the vehicle Meecham was driving had been reported stolen. Read more about the November pursuit here.
The two unidentified passengers, a 19-year-old female and 37-year-old male, had to be extracted from the vehicle by firefighters. They survived their injuries.
During Tuesday’s hearing, it was revealed that the trio had stopped to get drugs in Antioch before the pursuit (source).