Police Officer Nick Birco
San Francisco Police Department, California
End of Watch: Wednesday, July 26, 2006
Years on The Job: 5
Badge Number: 612
Cause of Death: Vehicle Assault
San Francisco police officer Nick-Tomasito Birco died early Wednesday after a van involved in a chase hit his cruiser, flipping it onto the sidewalk. The officer, was later pronounced dead at San Francisco General Hospital. Birco had been with the Department for five years and was assigned to Bayview Station. Four suspects -- three men and a woman -- were arrested at the accident scene.
According to police reports, Birco arrived at 12:35 a.m. in the 500 block of Bayshore Boulevard in the city's Bayview District to assist other officers pursuing a van matching the description of a vehicle used in a robbery at a city bus station. A man who had just concluded work was waiting at a bus stop when he was assaulted and robbed by two men. The victim provided a van description and joined police in a search of the area. Shortly afterward, the suspects' vehicle was spotted in the parking lot of a McDonald's restaurant. The officers made contact with the vehicle and the vehicle took off. The officers chased the van down a city street and onto southbound Interstate 280 in the direction of South San Francisco, then back toward San Francisco, before the van exited the freeway in the southern part of the city on Geneva Avenue.
As Birco drove through the nearby intersection of Cambridge and Felton streets, his car was struck by the suspects' van, which had run a stop sign. The police car spun out of control on impact, hit a curb, flipped on its side and struck a utility pole. The crash occurred just after 1 a.m.
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