Officer crashes, dies during California chase

March 20, 2011 5:33:24 AM PDT
Authorities say a police officer was killed when he lost control of his squad car and hit a palm tree as he chased a parolee driving a stolen car in California. Cathedral City police said in a statement Saturday that 29-year-old Officer Jermaine Gibson's vehicle caught fire and he was declared dead at the scene Friday night.

Gibson was a Marine Corps veteran who earned a Purple Heart serving in the Iraq War. He had been an officer in Cathedral City for 18 months and had a 4-week-old baby.

Governor Jerry Brown issued a statement praising Gibson's sacrifice.

Police said that in Palm Springs, two suspects, one of them a parolee, hit another palm tree in a Ford Mustang that had been reported stolen. They were hospitalized with what police called major injuries.