Category Archives: Police

Hope, gratitude after near-deadly collision in Berkeley

Meg Schwarzman
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The Berkeley scientist and mother who was struck by a motorist and trapped beneath his car while cycling near campus earlier this week is expected to pull through, family members said Thursday.

“She’s critical but stable,” said Mike Wilson of his wife, Megan Schwarzman. “Every indication is that she will be coming home. But it’s going to be a long, difficult recovery.”

Schwarzman, 42, is a research scientist at the Berkeley School of Public Health, as well as a physician and an associate director at the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry on the Cal campus. The group is one of the leading academic organizations in the nation focused on chemicals policy, Wilson said.

“She somehow is able to be both a brilliant thinker and the most compassionate, spirited person I know,” he said. Added Schwarzman’s sister, Caitlin, who lives in Alameda: “She loves being a part of the community. Her friends and family are always the center for her.”

She wrote on her sister’s Facebook page earlier this week that “the surgeons are optimistic about her long term prognosis.… We expect a stay of many weeks in the hospital. We are hurting for our Meg, feeling proud of her strength, and looking forward hopefully.” … Continue reading »

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Update: Driver arrested, cyclist critical after crash

Emergency personnel work the scene of a collision involving a motorist and a bicyclist on Fulton Street and Bancroft Way. Photo: David Yee
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Update, Feb. 3, 11 a.m. BPD says there have been no updates to report as far as the cyclist’s condition.

Update, 10:15 p.m. Berkeley police have arrested the driver involved in the crash, 47-year-old Berwick Haynes of Sunnyvale, on suspicion of driving under the influence. In a statement released just after 10 p.m. Tuesday, BPD said it was continuing to investigate the injury collision. The bicyclist, a 42-year-old Berkeley woman, is in critical condition at a local hospital. At 10 p.m. police were still at the scene of the accident taking measurements, and the intersection remained closed.

Update, 6:28 p.m. Police have asked motorists to avoid Fulton and Bancroft due to the earlier crash. Southbound Fulton between Bancroft and Kittredge Street is closed. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley School Board rejects school officer grant

Berkeley High police cruiser. Photo: Emilie Raguso
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The Berkeley School Board said a resounding “no” to a proposal to add a second police officer to its campus roster during a discussion earlier this month about ways to address safety and racial tension on campus.

The proposal, from Superintendent Donald Evans, was among a group of ideas collected from the community in December following several race-related incidents at Berkeley High in recent years, including the hanging of a noose on campus, disparaging statements that were slipped into the school yearbook last spring, and racial threats posted on a school computer in the fall.

Scroll down to see what’s on tonight’s School Board agenda.

The Berkeley Police Department had won a Department of Justice grant for $125,000 over a three-year period to help fund an additional school resource officer position. There is just one school resource officer in the district, stationed at Berkeley High on weekdays.

Berkeley Technology Academy Principal Sheila Quintana has lobbied in recent years for an officer who could also be present on her campus, the district’s lone continuation school. The grant would have helped provide funding for that position, said Capt. Dave Frankel of the Berkeley Police Department.  … Continue reading »

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Partying at UC Berkeley may have just gotten harder

A large crowd of Halloween revelers gathered on Channing Way, near Piedmont Avenue, in Berkeley, late Saturday. Photo: David Yee
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Citing a riot on Halloween and three alcohol-related deaths near the UC Berkeley campus in recent years, Berkeley officials approved new rules Tuesday night to address rowdy parties and other problems associated with group housing widely used by students.

About 15 Cal students, including representatives from governance group the Associated Students of the University of California, asked the Berkeley City Council to amend or vote down the proposal. They said it unfairly targets students, could lead to more evictions, and was unnecessary because they can regulate themselves.

Read past Berkeleyside coverage about drinking at Cal.

Miranda Hernandez, director of Greek affairs for an ASUC senator, told council the new rules would inappropriately micromanage students in their bedrooms, and would put students “at greater risk” because they would no longer want to call police and fire services for help, for “fear that they will be labeled a public nuisance.” She said there could be fewer reports and more deaths “because we will be afraid to call.”

About as many older Southside neighbors — some of whom described themselves as “year-round residents” — pleaded with council to adopt the new rules, citing frequent issues with noise, trash, loud music and the heavy use of the city’s first responders who are called to address those problems.

“Our community pays the price night after night, week after week, endangering our citizens and using precious public safety resources,” longtime resident Phil Bokovoy told council. “There is no will for the university to solve the problem.” … Continue reading »

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Police

Police seek Berkeley woman missing since Friday

Photo: Gail Saari
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Update, Jan. 29: A body located by an Oakland Police Department Air Support Unit and Marine unit helicopter during an aerial and waterway search of the San Leandro Bay has been identified by the Alameda County Coroner’s Office as Diana Gail Hajisaari of Berkeley. The 62-year-old, who was widely known as Gail Saari, was reported missing on Jan. 22 and seen entering the bay. An autopsy was scheduled Friday to determine the cause of death.

Update, 6:20 p.m. A family friend reached out to Berkeleyside to spread the word that the missing Berkeley woman was widely known as Gail Saari. According to her resume, Saari is the publications director at The Independent Institute. She is also a freelance writer and editor. … Continue reading »

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Update: Person dies after being struck by BART train; North Berkeley station re-opens

Mary Kuntz-Cote
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UPDATES: At 3:30 p.m. the North Berkeley BART station has now reopened. Expect delays of up to 20 minutes on the Fremont and Richmond lines. At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday BART confirmed that a person died after being struck by a train shortly after it had left North Berkeley BART station heading to Richmond. The initial report came in at 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, according to BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost. At 3 p.m. BART confirmed the coroner was on scene and the station remained closed. As only select trains are going through the station on a single track, some riders are being asked to disembark at MacArthur station to take another train.

Original story, 2:23 p.m. BART closed the North Berkeley BART station Tuesday afternoon, and passengers were experiencing significant delays on the Richmond line, while the transit agency investigated whether a person was possibly on the tracks. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley city worker dies in garbage truck accident

Johnny Tolliver, who worked for Berkeley's Zero Waste division, died Monday after he was hit by a city garbage truck. Photo: Tolliver family
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[Note: The family of Johnny Tolliver Sr. has released a statement about his death. Scroll to the bottom of this story to read it, along with additional updates.]

The city of Berkeley worker who was pinned by a garbage truck in the Berkeley Hills on Monday has died of his injuries.

Johnny Tolliver Sr., who had worked for Berkeley for 25 years, died Monday, according to Matthai Chakko, a city spokesman. He was 52.

“This is obviously an incredibly sad day for the staff involved and the city as a whole,” said Chakko. “We want to be a support to his family and his co-workers.”

Berkeley has lowered its flags to half-staff in Tolliver’s honor, he said.

Tolliver’s death while on duty may be the first for a city worker who is not a police officer or firefighter, or at least the first in a long, long time, said Chakko. … Continue reading »

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City worker sent to hospital after garbage truck accident

Preliminary reports indicate that a Berkeley garbage truck was involved in a traffic incident Monday. Image: Google Maps
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Update, Jan. 12, 11 a.m. The worker, identified as Johnny Tolliver, has died. Tolliver, who had worked for Berkeley for 25 years. The city lowered its flags to half-staff in his honor Tuesday. Read more on Berkeleyside.

Original story, 2:43 p.m. A city worker was taken to the hospital after a municipal garbage truck may have pinned him against a tree in the Berkeley Hills on Monday afternoon when its brakes went out, according to preliminary reports.

City spokesman Matthai Chakko said Monday at about 2 p.m. that the incident remains under investigation, and that he could only confirm that a worker was taken to the hospital. Chakko was not able to provide any additional details.

Berkeleyside reviewed scanner audio recordings to find out more. The information that follows is unconfirmed. This story will be updated if the city provides additional information.

The Berkeley Fire Department was dispatched early Monday afternoon to 90 Parnassus Road for a report of an individual who was initially pinned in place by what was later determined to be a city of Berkeley garbage truck.  … Continue reading »

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Human foot found on Berkeley BART tracks

Said Siciliana Trevino shortly after 2 p.m.: "Power out all over #Berkeley BART is still running - take a free ride from downtown!" The station is closed as of about 2:40 p.m.
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BART workers found a dismembered foot on the tracks in Berkeley Monday morning and believe it belongs to a woman who jumped in front of a train on Dec. 20.

BART officials briefly closed the downtown Berkeley station around 4 a.m. after workers found the right foot around 3 a.m., according to Jim Allison, a BART spokesman. The station reopened a short time later. Service was not delayed. … Continue reading »

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Update: Police find car of missing UC Berkeley student

Shuqin Zhang. Photo: BPD
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Update, Jan. 10, 8:30 a.m. Berkeley police are reporting that, during their search for missing student Shuqin Zhang, “several items identified as belonging to Shuqin were located on the cliff above the ocean.” This was by the Point Reyes lighthouse near where the 22-year-old’s car was found Saturday.

Update, Jan. 9, 3:04 p.m. Berkeley police released an update regarding Shuqin Zhang, the 22-year-old who was classified as “missing and at risk” Friday.

Early Saturday morning, Zhang’s vehicle was found at Point Reyes near the lighthouse area, according to BPD. The vehicle was unoccupied and search efforts are underway. The National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard and Marin County Search and Rescue are looking for Zhang. Berkeley police investigators are on scene and coordinating with those agencies. … Continue reading »

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Police

Woman dies in suicide near Berkeley’s Old City Hall

Old City Hall. Photo by Melati Citrawireja
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Update, Jan. 8, 6:20 p.m. The woman was identified as Shelley Bergum, 63, of Berkeley.

Update, 5:40 p.m. The woman has succumbed to her injuries, authorities report. She was in her 60s, and police are in contact with her family. Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said authorities will not be releasing the woman’s name at this time.

Coats said, initially, an officer heard the gunshot and found the woman.

“Numerous officers rushed to the scene upon hearing the radio broadcast, including a Special Response Team medic,” Coats said. “Several officers worked providing her first aid until they were relieved by Berkeley Fire Department Paramedics.”

City Mobile Crisis Team members were also called to the scene to provide support to a witness of the incident.  … Continue reading »

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Update: Power restored to 5,800 in Berkeley after outage

Power outage at Peet's Coffee in North Berkeley. Photo: Colleen Neff
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Readers are reporting a power outage in North Berkeley that has knocked out electricity to Peet’s Coffee and a number of homes in the area.

Berkeley residents reported outages around Shattuck Avenue and Delaware Street, Cedar Street and Euclid Avenue, and Milvia Street between Cedar and Virginia. Power at Bonita and Berryman streets, Martin Luther King Jr. Way and Delaware, and Cedar and MLK was also out, readers said.

Scroll down for live updates and more outage information.

Berkeleyside has requested information from PG&E and will update this post when we hear back.  … Continue reading »

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The biggest Berkeley stories of 2015

Irish Consul General Philip Grant praised the first responders for their compassion. Photo: David Yee
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2015 was an eventful year. Six young people died when a balcony on a relatively new building broke off. Race was a huge topic, from the controversy surrounding Kamau Bell’s treatment at the Elmwood Café to a racist threat made on a Berkeley High School computer, to a peaceful protest walkout by hundreds of students.

Berkeley approved the first new tall building in its downtown in more than 40 years. It also passed new laws to restrict the behavior of homeless people. The housing and rental markets went crazy, leaving many to wonder: Who can afford to live in Berkeley? Not least as the median price of a home in Berkeley breached the $1 million mark.

But there were some lighter moments too, such as the business owner whose Wall Street Journal was stolen every morning, and our report on naked tree-hugging protesters.

Here is a selection of the top stories of the year. Some were chosen because they drew the most readers and others because they reverberated deeply in city life. … Continue reading »

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