Update: BPD says man, 19, drove into water during fight with girlfriend

A tow truck lifted the car out of the water Monday. Water can be seen pouring out of broken windshield. Photo: Nancy Schimmelman

Update, 3 p.m. BPD now reports that Gregory Richard Polk III “intentionally drove his vehicle into the water after a domestic dispute with his girlfriend.” There were also reports from people at the marina that the two had been arguing before Polk drove into the water.

As of Monday afternoon, a Berry Brothers tow truck driver had lifted the vehicle — identified by some at the scene as a Hellcat Charger — out of the water with the help of Berkeley Marina staff.

Original story, 6:30 a.m. A 19-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, battery causing serious bodily injury and domestic violence after speeding into the San Francisco Bay, with a woman inside his car, at the Berkeley Marina on Sunday evening, authorities report.

The driver had to kick or punch out a window so the pair could get out of the sinking car, said Lt. Dave Lindenau of the Berkeley Police Department on Sunday night. The driver was identified as Gregory Richard Polk III of Berkeley. No information other than gender was immediately available about the woman in the car with Polk.


A reader told Berkeleyside that “Motorboats from Cal Adventures and Cal Sailing Club rescued two people from the car before it sank. Over a dozen Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley Fire Department vehicles responded, arriving about 10 minutes after the car hit the bay” around 7 p.m. The car sank in about 4 feet of water, he said, and the motorboats took Polk and the woman to the dock by the Cal Sailing Club.

A tow truck lifted the car out of the water Monday. Photo: Nancy Schimmelman
A tow truck lifted the car out of the water Monday. Photo: Nancy Schimmelman

A reader told Berkeleyside that “Motorboats from Cal Adventures and Cal Sailing Club rescued two people from the car before it sank. Over a dozen Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley Fire Department vehicles responded, arriving about 10 minutes after the car hit the bay” around 7 p.m. The car sank in about 4 feet of water, he said, and the motorboats took Polk and the woman to the dock by the Cal Sailing Club.

Another reader saw “at least 10 Berkeley police cars, 2 ambulances & a fire truck speeding west on University Avenue with sirens going, headed toward the Berkeley Marina,” adding, “Hope you can find out what was going on.”

Lindenau said authorities initially got reports about the car in the water to the east of Hs Lordships, at 199 Seawall Drive. He confirmed that boaters were able to rescue both people in the sinking vehicle and get them back to the docks. During the rescue, Lindenau said, Polk punched one of the boaters in the face. That person required stitches to his lip.

“We’re still trying to investigate the reason they ended up in the water,” Lindenau said shortly before midnight. “We’re not sure if it was an accident or on purpose. We’re trying to talk to people who saw what was going on to figure out what really happened.”

Lindenau said the driver was bleeding when he was taken into custody, likely as a result of having smashed the car window to get out of it. The female passenger initially declined medical treatment but later was taken to Alta Bates Hospital for an assessment, he said.

Prior to landing in the water, the driver had been doing “doughnuts” and other maneuvers in the parking lot, according to police.


A witness at the scene said the vehicle may have been a Dodge Charger. It left long tire tracks on the pavement in the parking lot leading into the water.

Lindenau said Polk managed to get the car “pretty far out.” Ultimately the vehicle became totally submerged, and is now marked by a small buoy, he said. How the vehicle will be removed from the water remains to be seen, he added.

Police said detectives will review the case this week to determine how to proceed after Polk’s arrest. He is being held at Berkeley Jail with a bail of $100,000 and is set for arraignment Wednesday morning.

According to records online, the 19-year-old welder was convicted in May — following his arrest in October — for carrying a loaded, unregistered gun. He was charged with two felonies and a misdemeanor, but ultimately entered a “no contest” plea to a misdemeanor and was placed on probation through 2021. His sentence also included 120 days in jail, at half time, to be served on weekends at Glenn Dyer Jail in Oakland beginning July 6, according to records online.

The images below are courtesy of the Cal Sailing Club webcam.