Man arrested after DUI car crash, hit and run in Berkeley

Image: Google Maps

Image: Google Maps

A driver who crashed into several parked vehicles in North Berkeley, then fled the scene as his car burned, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run just after 9:30 Saturday morning, authorities said.

Authorities identified the driver as Geoffrey Cronin, 42, of Berkeley. Cronin was arrested last year in connection with a knife assault and police chase in Berkeley in August.

Saturday, March 29, at 8:16 a.m., Berkeley officers responded to Walnut and Cedar streets after a caller reported an injury accident involving the driver and a parked vehicle, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, via email.

When officers arrived, they were told the driver had fled the scene.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb of the Berkeley Fire Department, several parked vehicles were damaged in the crash. The responsible vehicle was on fire when first responders arrived.

Firefighters who were dispatched to the crash found flames in that vehicle’s engine compartment. Both airbags had deployed. Firefighters put out the flames, and left the incident to be investigated by police, Webb said via email.

According to residents who live nearby, the block was closed off during the investigation Saturday morning, and the incident drew many onlookers.

Coats said witnesses to the crash gave officers a description of the driver, and “a similar subject was detained nearby.”

Police investigated further, and ultimately arrested Cronin on suspicion of driving under the influence, hit and run, and probation violation, Coats said.

Cronin was arrested last August in Berkeley on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving at unsafe speeds, going the wrong way in traffic while evading police, evading police with a disregard for public safety, and several other violations, including battery.

Berkeleyside reported on that incident last fall. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2013, Berkeley Police responded to a domestic disturbance in the 1500 block of Campus Drive at 7:10 p.m.

It was reported that a man had physically assaulted a victim and threatened the victim with a knife. The man, later identified as Cronin, fled before police arrived, according to authorities. When conducting an area check for the suspect, an officer spotted Cronin’s vehicle, and tried to pull him over.

Coats said last year that Cronin failed to yield, and fled “in a willful and wanton disregard for public safety.” Due to the threat to public safety, the officer gave up the pursuit.

Moments later, another officer found Cronin standing outside his vehicle. The officer tried to detain Cronin, but he refused to obey, then assaulted the officer, Coats said. Additional officers responded to help, and Cronin was arrested.

Cronin was in custody at Santa Rita Jail as of Tuesday night, in connection with the March 29 crash, with a bail of $6,305. He was scheduled to have been arraigned Tuesday morning.

Related:
Man left with major leg injuries after hit-and-run crash (01.26.14)
Berkeley man strikes many cars, arrested for DUI (01.23.14)
Driver strikes 3 blind pedestrians in Berkeley, flees (10.25.13)
Berkeleyside Police Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, 8/29-9/4 (09.11.13)
$15,000 reward offered after pedestrian hit-and-run death (07.23.13)
Sign added near site of fatal Berkeley hit-and-run (07.17.13)
Berkeley hit-and-run raises concerns for safety (07.15.13)

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

Print Friendly
Tagged , , , , , ,
  • guest

    Driving is a privilege, not a right. Take away his driver’s license and his car, permanently. Give him a permanent GPS ankle bracelet that automatically notifies police when it goes over 15 mph. Let him walk, ride a bike, take a bus or train, but not drive a car, or even ride in a car, without his parole officer’s advance permission. If we are not willing to do that, then downgrade him a motor scooter, which is incapable of causing this scale of damage, and equip it with a ignition system that requires a breathalyzer sample before starting.

  • Woolsey

    Why is he out after causing all this mayhem last year? Arrested for threatening with a knife, fleeing, assaulting an officer, etc. Now his bail is only $6,300 after this latest incident?

  • djoelt1

    It does seem like we are missing opportunities to use all the nifty new technology, available in portable format on smart phones, to protect the public from the careless and criminal minded.

  • Andy

    What was he driving? This past weekend I was driving up Hopkins, heard a honk, and looked in my rear view mirror to see a Ford Expedition not 2 feet right behind me. At the next stop sign and he rolled right around me and through the stop sign and rolled right on through the next stop sign. At the red light at Sacramento he stopped, but kept opening his door. At the stop sign near Monterey Market he stopped, but after driving through that he drove slowly and was swerving. This was maybe around 2 PM Saturday.

  • emraguso

    This happened in the morning so I imagine that was someone else.

  • John Freeman

    It does seem like we are missing opportunities to use all the nifty new technology, available in portable format on smart phones, to protect the public from the careless and criminal minded.

    We are building out the ubiquitous surveillance and social control networks necessary for that (and many more applications) qutie rapidly. The political reaction to the Snowden leaks will probably accelerate the process.

    I would guess that on our current path, eventually we will wind up permanently “belling” people who have convictions (or who are otherwise suspect as enemies of the state). We’ll track them in order restrict their travels and mark them as second-class citizens.

    Still, it will be politically easier to first further “bell” and monitor ordinary people. Cell phones are a good start but more cameras, more biometric tracking, more sensors embedded throughout the environment… these will help make sure that essentially nobody is free from permanent observation.

    If you build up tolerance for ubiquitous surveillance first among the largely passive “good” citizens, then it becomes easier to apply it punitively to targeted enemy groups. Like drunk drivers! What’s not to like!

    In the end, there won’t be any special need to attach permanent GPS ankle bracelets to anyone because they would simply be redundent with the universal tracking of everyone. Then the secret police can build quite flexible notification systems to trigger alerts for all kinds of activities. It’ll be fun!

  • guest

    I think when we see that kind of crazy stuff on the road, we can call the Berkeley Police Dept and report a suspected drunk driver, and they may get chased down and pulled over.

  • guest

    >take a bus or train
    > Give him a permanent GPS ankle bracelet that automatically notifies police when it goes over 15 mph.

    Ummm… Most trains and buses go faster than 15mph.

  • Concern Trolling

    Worrying about the civil liberties of convicted felons? Really?

  • guest

    You just made his point for him. When we take the attitude that “well, if you haven’t done anything wrong, then you have nothing to worry about,” we acquiesce to the development of an incredibly powerful infrastructure that can easily be abused. We already incarcerate our citizens at a higher rate than any other place on earth — it wouldn’t be a huge step for us to go from where we are now to a totalitarian regime. I’d rather our future dictator didn’t have access to the surveillance infrastructure we have created. But I guess the genie is out of the bottle. And yes, of course I think drunk drivers should face legal consequences. And yes, convicted felons do have civil liberties.

  • Concern Trolling

    When we take the attitude that “well, if you haven’t done anything
    wrong, then you have nothing to worry about,” we acquiesce to the
    development of an incredibly powerful infrastructure that can easily be
    abused.

    So, sort of like the entire legal justice system I guess? Since, you know, we already take various civil liberties of convicted criminals away as part of their punishment for their crimes.

  • guest

    Yes, and the convicted drunk driver would have a computer record showing when they went that fast, which could be conveniently, even automatically, compared to bus and train routes.

  • theDeer

    You can call 911 to report such bad driving, especially if there is some insinuation of harm to you…the door opening as threat? I was chased by a driver in N. Berkeley once, and had to phone 911 as I was driving since I couldn’t pull over or get away from him. They supported my act and at least tried to send someone after him..

  • guest

    Sounds expensive.

  • pedant

    >misusing terms AFTER it’s been pointed out to you
    Shiggy-diggy, bud.

  • guest

    It would not be as expensive as drunk driving: “Beyond lost lives and painful injuries, alcohol-related crashes in the
    United States cost federal and local governments and taxpayers
    approximately $51 billion each year. (Blincoe et al., 2002) ”
    http://well.wvu.edu/articles/the_high_cost_of_drinking_and_driving

  • guest

    I don’t follow what you are saying. The 4th Amendment protects us against unreasonable searches and seizures. The point of this is to respect the presumption of innocence and have the freedom to be left alone. When all of us are subject to surveillance by the government (or by Google and Microsoft, for that matter) all the time, we are not being “left alone.” Regardless, my point was that, in the wrong hands, this power could be badly abused and forms a strong foundation for a totalitarian society. With respect to civil liberties, you said, in effect, we shouldn’t worry about the civil liberties of convicted felons, the implication being that you don’t think they have any, or at least that we shouldn’t respect those rights they do have. My response was that convicted felons DO have rights, even if some other rights have been lawfully taken away from them. Our incarceration state is much more threatening and harmful to free society when we not only lock up more people than anywhere else in the world, but then ignore the rights of those who’ve been locked up even after they’ve served their time.

  • guest

    The point of this is to respect the presumption of innocence and have the freedom to be left alone.

    And we’re talking about convicted criminals so the presumption of innocence does not apply.

    You’re missing the point that the State is free to – and in fact already does – take away the civil liberties of any individual citizen as a consequence of their actions. Suggesting modifications of what liberties are taken away or in what manner they are taken is hardly the doom-and-gloom scenario of a Fascist nightmare world that the two of you are trying to use as a boogeyman.

  • guest

    Ah, but how much would it actually save?

    This report presents the results of an analysis of motor vehicle crash costs in the United States in the year 2000. The total
    economic cost of motor vehicle crashes in 2000 was $230.6 billion. This represents the present value of lifetime costs for
    41, 821 fatalities, 5.3 million non-fatal injuries, and 28 million damaged vehicles, in both police-reported and unreported
    crashes. Lost market productivity accounted for $61 billion of this total, while property damage accounted for nearly as much -
    $59 billion. Medical expenses totaled $32.6 billion and travel delay accounted for $25.6 billion. Each fatality resulted in an
    average discounted lifetime cost of $977,000. Public revenues paid for roughly 9 percent of all motor vehicle crash costs,
    costing tax payers $21 billion in 2000, the equivalent of over $200 in added taxes for every household in the U.S. Alcoholinvolved
    crashes accounted for $51.1 billion or 22 percent of all economic costs, and 75 percent of these costs occurred in
    crashes where a driver or non-occupant had a BAC of .10 or greater. In roughly 80 percent of these cases, alcohol was the
    cause of the crash. Crashes in which police indicate that at least one driver was exceeding the legal speed limit or driving too
    fast for conditions cost $40.4 billion in 2000. Safety belt use prevented 11,900 fatalities, 325,000 serious injuries, and $50
    billion in injury related costs in 2000, but the failure of a substantial portion of the driving population to buckle up caused
    9,200 unnecessary fatalities, 143,000 serious injuries, and cost society $26 billion in easily preventable injury related costs.

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.cita-vehicleinspection.org%2FPortals%2Fcita%2Fautofore_study%2FLinkedDocuments%2Fliterature%2FNHTSA%2520the%2520economic%2520impact%2520of%2520motor%2520vehicle%2520crashes%25202000%2520USA%25202002.pdf&ei=tIs8U4uKJ8eGyQHM5IHQBQ&usg=AFQjCNFLIChcHaZ-7SRPJ9fUDSHIAmfnEA&sig2=ZDCqTVtb1ewzgIv9NQPptg&bvm=bv.63934634,d.aWc

  • Concern Trolling

    >the argument But what of the civil liberties of felons?!?
    >not concern trolling

    WTF, SMH

  • John Freeman

    Suggesting modifications of what liberties are taken away or in what manner they are taken is hardly the doom-and-gloom scenario of a Fascist nightmare world that the two of you are trying to use as a boogeyman.

    That’s a deflection. We reacted to the initial pair of calls to expand the network of electronic surveillance, specifically as a mechanism for curtailing civil rights in open-ended ways.

  • pedant

    See possible definitions:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=concern+troll

    Unless you mean definition 6:

    “Mostly used in forums where there is a fairly well-defined orthodoxy, usually political (it could be conservatism, feminism or nearly anything else) that all members are assumed to agree with by default, “concern troll” can refer to nearly anyone who expresses disagreement or skepticism about some aspect of that orthodoxy, while agreeing with other parts of it.”

    (Which would be funny, and make you really meta and super self-aware)

    I can only assume that you mean definition 2, which seems bizarre in this context:

    “In an argument (usually a political debate), a concern troll is someone who is on one side of the discussion, but pretends to be a supporter of the other side with “concerns”. The idea behind this is that your opponents will take your arguments more seriously if they think you’re an ally. Concern trolls who use fake identities are sometimes known as sockpuppets.”

    OR, or, you could be self-IDENTIFYING as a concern troll, in which case, see above re: meta and self-aware, and i guess would suggest that your are posting specifically to provoke thought as a devil’s advocate…?

  • Charles_Siegel

    “Each fatality resulted in an average discounted lifetime cost of $977,000.”

    Only an economist could believe that we can set the exact value of a life at $977,000.

  • Concern Trolling

    >a pedant
    >using urbandictionary.com as a source

    Meta-meta-meta trolling?

  • guest

    read again, “average”

  • Charles_Siegel

    I almost included “average” the first time. If it will make you feel better:

    Only an economist could believe that we can set the exact value of an average life at $977,000

    In any case, my point is that there are some things that cannot be so precisely quantified.

  • Doug F

    You have to be awfully drunk–or stupid–to think you can evade charges by running away from the crashed car when it’s your own car. Maybe next time he’ll be just smart enough to do it in a stolen car…

  • guest

    If you pick under the surface, you will find almost every extended family has someone injured or killed by a drunk driver. My best friend’s grandmother died after being hit by a drunk driver. My uncle was killed by a drunk driver. My parents parked car was wrecked by a drunk driver. When my dad started out in news in the sixties, he covered a fatal crash, and asked the police officer if alcohol was involved — the officer at the scene told him “he had never been to a fatal crash where alcohol was not involved.” Where I grew up, driving at bar closing time was like dodge’em cars, with drunks weaving all over the roads. We are doing better now, but we can keep improving.

  • guest

    We reacted to the initial pair of calls to expand the network of
    electronic surveillance…

    Nope. Ankle bracelet monitoring already exists. The commenter suggested modifying the type of punishment doled out using electronics that are already used as punishment.

    …specifically as a mechanism for curtailing
    civil rights in open-ended ways.

    Nope. We already curtail the civil rights as a form of punishment for those who commit certain crimes. The commenter’s suggestion clearly referred to punishment for a specific crime.

  • guest

    “Exact value of an average life”? wtf. Keep re-reading.