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A vehicle stolen in Moraga is tangled in brush near the Orinda Country Club after a high-speed chase ended in a fatal crash at Camino Pablo and Miner Road in Orinda, Calif., on Tuesday Jan. 25, 2011. (Karl Mondon/Staff)

A 27-year-old Hayward woman died behind the wheel of a stolen car in Orinda after a police chase Tuesday night, authorities say.

Investigators haven't determined why Christina Ramos was in the stolen pickup from Moraga or who stole another vehicle belonging to the same owner at the same time.

The chase started about 2:20 p.m., when the owner called police because she saw both her Ford pickup and her Subaru zoom past while picking up her son at Miramonte High School in Orinda, Contra Costa sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said.

Orinda and Moraga officers saw the pickup, gave chase, and lost sight of it on Camino Pablo. Soon after, they came upon a wreck.

Ramos crashed into a power pole north of Miner Road and died.

The theft victim had reported her Subaru stolen Tuesday morning, but had not realized her truck was also gone, Lee said.

While the pickup was heading down Camino Pablo, police chased the Subaru west on Highway 24 but lost it, Lee said. Later, a Lafayette resident reported the stolen Subaru, empty and idling in a driveway.

The Sheriff's Office reported no leads in finding the occupants of the Subaru on Wednesday.

The pickup landed in the trees across San Pablo Creek from the 15th green of the Orinda Country Club and, on the other side, directly across Camino Pablo from a PG&E transmission tower.

Police were unable to remove the body from the truck as utility crews worked around the wrecked pickup late Tuesday to erect a new pole and restore electricity to hundreds of customers.


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An investigation is ongoing by the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office, which reviews all fatal incidents involving police officers.

Contact Karl Fischer at 510-262-2728. Follow him at Twitter.com/kfischer510.