Pedestrian in critical condition after auto accident

The accident happened at around 8:20 p.m.on University Avenue near the intersection with 10th Street. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The Berkeley Police Fatal Accident Investigation Team at 10th Street and University Avenue shortly before midnight. Photo: Emilie Raguso

A Berkeley man is in critical condition after being struck by a car while walking on University Avenue just west of San Pablo Avenue on Tuesday night, authorities said.

“We received multiple 911 calls at approximately 8:23 p.m.,” said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, via email at about 11:20 p.m. The man was taken by the Berkeley Fire Department to a local hospital, where he was listed in critical condition.

Yellow crime scene markers were spread throughout the street, at 10th and University, shortly before midnight. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Yellow crime scene markers were spread throughout the street, at 10th and University, shortly before midnight. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Coats said University Avenue, between San Pablo Avenue and Ninth Street, was closed to traffic while its Fatal Accident Investigation Team (FAIT) carried out its investigation at the scene of the accident, at University and 10th Street.

As of about midnight, officers had set up nearly 20 small yellow markers in the street, at University and 10th, to indicate pieces of evidence. Some investigators photographed the area while others appeared to take measurements or inspect the roadway.

Smokey red flares around San Pablo Avenue alerted drivers that the road was closed to through-traffic.

During the investigation, Berkeley Police closed traffic between San Pablo Avenue and Ninth Street on University. Photo: Emilie Raguso

During the investigation, Berkeley Police closed traffic between San Pablo Avenue and Ninth Street on University. Photo: Emilie Raguso

Berkeley Police Sgt. Robert Rittenhouse said he estimated the roadway would be closed for at least another two hours as the team worked to complete its investigation.

Police said the man who was driving the car has cooperated with the investigation, and that it’s too early to say whether drugs or alcohol were factors in the accident.

Police ask anyone with information about the incident to call the department’s Traffic Bureau at 510-981-5980.

Additional reporting was contributed by Berkeleyside staffer Emilie Raguso.

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  • berkeley walker

    If a car hits a pedestrian, I don’t think that counts as a collision.

  • batard

    I bent a rim hitting a pothole once, and my insurance company classified it as a collision instead of a comprehensive claim. Logic was that I collided with the road.

  • If you get hit in Berkeley wether it be while walking good luck to you! Those A$$holes at state farm are ruthless. All insurance companies care about is avoiding liability and avoiding paying anything to any victims. Its a really jacked up system we have in place. If you are driving in the area. Hearst and Cedar can provide cross town service to Sixth.

  • batard

    Well .. duh. Payouts are a liability. Insurance is a business.

    To be fair though, and no lack of compassion to the individual who was hit tonight, there is a mighty army of self-rightous and dipshit peds in Berkeley that are a safety hazard unto themselves. Cyclists too. Especially around the campus.

  • siriusa

    cyclists can be a nightmare. I am very bike-friendly but I see so many cyclists running lights or making very poor (and dangerous) choices. also, it’s hard to take a cyclist seriously who neither wears lights or a helmet at night. not concerned about your safety? do you expect others to be? /rant

    also, I think drivers have gotten a lot worse about respecting crosswalks. if a pedestrian is crossing you need to stop, not slow down, not try to time it so you can blow through just after the pedestrian has crossed your lane. I saw a driver do this to a woman pushing her infant in a pram. it was revolting. /rant2

  • a.guest

    There’s a signal light 1/2 a block away at San Pablo. When walking I always go out of my way to go to lights or intersections with stop signs. Safer that way.

  • Of course it does.

    Collision is a better term to use than accident. Accident implies no culpability, it’s just something that happened through no one’s fault. Collision is neutral with respect to fault, as it should be until the investigation is complete.

  • emraguso

    I’m not totally sure on this one. A collision relates to two things striking each other, and perhaps may make more sense in the context of vehicles … I can understand the confusion. I ended up changing it soon after publication because I wasn’t sure about proper usage, but it’s still a bit of a gray area to me.

  • Charles_Siegel

    Here are a couple of hints:

    From the Wikipedia article “Accident”:
    Experts in the field of injury prevention avoid use of the term ‘accident’ to describe events that cause injury in an attempt to highlight the predictable and preventable nature of most injuries. Such incidents are viewed from the perspective of epidemiology as predictable and preventable. Preferred words are more descriptive of the event itself, rather than of its unintended nature (e.g., collision, drowning, fall, etc.)

    From the Wikipedia article “Collision”:

    A collision is an isolated event in which two or more moving bodies (colliding bodies) exert forces on each other for a relatively short time. Although the most common colloquial use of the word “collision” refers to accidents in which two or more objects collide, the scientific use of the word “collision” implies nothing about the magnitude of the forces.
    Some examples of physical interactions that scientists would consider collisions:
    An insect touches its antenna to the leaf of a plant. The antenna is said to collide with leaf.
    A cat walks delicately through the grass. Each contact that its paws
    make with the ground is a collision. Each brush of its fur against a
    blade of grass is a collision.
    Some colloquial uses of the word collision are:
    automobile collision, two cars colliding with each other

    I don’t know if that resolves your problem:

    –Scientists would call it a collision, even though it involves animals or people.
    –Colloquially, an automobie collision refers to two cars colliding with each other.
    So, do you want to be scientific or colloquial?

    Jeff Poskanzer is making a point that transportation activists often make and that I agree with. Automobile crashes should not be called accidents, because they sometimes do involve fault, and the word “accident” implies that there is no fault.

    How about “crash” instead of “accident”?

  • resident

    Same here, but even that won’t protect you. I’ve nearly been hit several times walking in crosswalks where I have the right of way because of a stop sign or red light. I put a red flashing bike light on my son’s stroller to make us more visible, and I make eye contact with drivers before I step in front of them. It helps, but I still wonder if someday we are going to be Berkeley’s next pedestrian statistic.

  • Andrew D

    You “make eye contact with drivers before” you step in front of them, and you consider this a note worthy point? Um, hello, but this is what you teach 4 year olds, and remind 8 year olds of, when discussing “how to cross the street”. If you think this is some sort of advanced pedestrian concept worthy of making sure others are aware of….well, just: wow.

  • southberkeleyres

    Way too many bicyclists riding at night without lights. Very dangerous. BPD PLEASE ticket bicyclists riding at night without lights as it is far too dangerous for the rider and drivers, even pedestrians!

  • jjohannson

    Well over half the adults I encounter in crosswalks when I’m driving don’t bother to make eye contact with me. Some don’t even bother to look up from their cells. And your tone is juvenile; what’s up with that?

  • emraguso

    This is certainly all thoughtful and good food for thought for us. I made a late-night decision to change Tracey’s “collision” to “accident” because it seemed more neutral, but I understand that this is a contentious area. Thank you both for taking the time to share thoughts and context. We’ll discuss it at our next editorial meeting.

  • andrew d

    I am not suggesting this city is not filled with pedestrians that are lacking in a healthy sense of self preservation and basic skills, in fact I’m well aware of it. My snarky tone was in response to my perception of this poster’s and others’ tone that somehow Berkeley is some unique place with crazy drivers that requires extra diligence as a pedestrian to not be struck down. Folks, Berkeley is not special. it’s just like everywhere else, especially when we’re talking about subjects like horrible traffic incidents. I can’t imagine a topic that is more universal across the entire US, compared to other lively debate on this site regarding topics like the permitting of medical marijuana collectives, just to pick one.

  • gtp

    Interesting that Berkeley/San Francisco have much higher rate of pedestrian deaths than New York City does; I most definitely feel way more at risk crossing Berkeley streets than I did in 25 years walking in NYC. A Berkeley resident, I walk to and from work every day and constantly witness terribly dangerous driving, walking, and cycling habits. EVERYONE needs to be much more alert and conspicuous and careful. And follow traffic laws and regulations. And everyone needs to leave their cell phones in their damn pockets!

  • Westside at the bottom

    Someone got hit and is in critical condition. Why are you talking about if it was a collision or insurance? Wow!

  • guest

    Yup. The drivers here are pretty much standard issue. The pedestrians and (especially) the cyclists are what are exceptional. Eye contact? I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a pedestrian walk across the road willfully NOT looking at the cars. As if to say, “who are you to expect me to pay attention? I have my rights!” As if not looking affirms their moral superiority for not destroying the planet. Or whatever.

  • wally7

    in insurance terms collision can mean one moving object hitting a non-moving object. ie a moving car hitting a parked car. i know from a hit and run- my parked car was hit and had we not found the person who hit me, because i myself had chosen “no collision coverage”, i would not have been covered for the damage by my own insurance. if i had collision coverage and we could not find the person, the collision coverage would have covered the damages of my parked car being hit.