CHP: Failure to yield to a pedestrian led to fatal Berkeley crash

Berkeley public works employees who were working at the intersection when a fatal crash occurred involving a city vehicle and a pedestrian, on Channing Way, near Fulton Street, watch police investigate the incident Friday, Jan. 12. Photo: David Yee

A city employee’s failure to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk near UC Berkeley earlier this month led to the car crash that caused the death of a 70-year-old Berkeley woman, authorities report.

Shelley Rideout was killed Jan. 12, as she walked north in the crosswalk on Channing Way, when the westbound driver struck her with a city vehicle at 15 mph, the California Highway Patrol reported previously. The driver had just stopped at the stop sign on Channing at Fulton Street, then proceeded through the intersection and struck Rideout in the western crosswalk. She was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after 1:20 p.m.

Monday, Oakland-area CHP spokesman Officer Matt Hamer said the CHP has determined that the cause of the crash was the driver’s failure to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk. No other associated factors were listed, Hamer said, though the report is not complete.

Hamer said the CHP is not planning to pursue criminal charges in the case. The driver will get a point on her record, as is typical when a party is found to be at fault.


Hamer said the driver could still face civil liability should the victim’s family pursue a lawsuit.

The CHP typically releases the names of parties involved in vehicle crashes, but did not do so in this case because the driver was a city of Berkeley employee.

Hamer said it would therefore be the city that could release the name. Berkeleyside has asked the city whether it plans to do so, and will update this story when a response is provided.

The CHP investigated the fatal crash because the agency handles all collisions that involve a vehicle owned by a municipality or other jurisdiction.

Rideout had her cat, a 10-year-old tortoiseshell named Betty Boop, with her at the time of the crash, according to family friend and longtime cat sitter Daniel McPartlan.


“Shelley was a wonderful person who loved her cat Betty Boop immensely. Shelley was carrying Betty home from the Berk dog and cat hospital when she was killed,” he wrote on Berkeleyside. The family put out the word last week, through McPartlan, that they were looking for a new home for Betty Boop.

McPartlan told Berkeleyside on Sunday that the cat had just been adopted by a colleague of Rideout’s from the Berkeley Historical Society, where Rideout volunteered each week. Rideout was also an expert in textiles and apparel, her boss of 25 years at a San Francisco retail shop wrote on Berkeleyside.

Tim O’Hearn, the employer, said Rideout had, over the past two years, “successfully battled a bout with cancer and worked through a hip replacement, all the while living on her own and taking complete charge of her recovery.”

“Shelley was a unique blend of genteel respect and feistiness,” he wrote. “Her quiet and calm demeanor was the order of the day until she felt passionately about something, at which point she did not hesitate to make her opinion known. Shelley was measured, deliberate and could be a whole lot of fun.”

Rideout was a longtime resident on Fulton Street, according to her neighbor, Jerome Solberg. He posted on Berkeleyside that Rideout had recently been considering the purchase of a cottage in southern Oregon, as a retirement home, so she could be close to her brother.


Update, Tuesday, Jan. 23, 3:36 p.m. The city has identified the driver as Daryl Brand, a behavioral health clinician who has worked for the city of Berkeley for 28 years.