Tag Archives: Berkeley fatality

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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Man killed in fire after Berkeley firefighters were blocked from entering because house was crammed with stuff

A Berkeley man was killed in a fire on Acton Street on Dec. 27. Photo: Lee Fenyves
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A 78-year-old Berkeley man was killed in a fire Sunday morning and he might have died because he hoarded so much stuff that firefighters could not enter his home, according to officials.

The Fire Department was notified of a blaze in a home at 2817 Acton St. between Oregon and Russell streets at 4:47 a.m. on Dec. 27, according to Interim Deputy Fire Chief Donna McCracken. Flames were shooting out of the home’s windows when firefighters arrived at the scene.

The Fire Department received word that a person was still in the building.

“Fire Department personnel went into ‘rescue mode’ with the intent to enter, rapidly search and remove any victims they can locate,” McCracken wrote in an email. “However, crews were blocked from entering the building by excessive storage throughout the home, including up against the doors. Crews were eventually able to enter after much effort and locate the victim, who had perished.”

The man was Billy Carroll, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.

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Alcohol, fall from height likely contributed to Berkeley fraternity death

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps
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The Berkeley Police Department has released the identity of the young man who was found dead at the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity house on Channing Way on Dec. 19. They also revealed that he likely fell from a “significant” height before his death, and that alcohol appears to have been a contributing factor.

The deceased was Jeffrey Thomas Engler, 22, from San Leandro. Engler, who was enrolled at Laney College, and had formerly attended UC Berkeley, was a member of Pi Kappa Phi, but did not live at the fraternity, according to a statement released by BPD at around 4:15 p.m. Monday. Engler was at the house attending a small holiday party, they said.

The release continues: “Based on the preliminary investigation it appears he fell from a significant height prior to his death. There are no indications of foul play, and alcohol appears to have played a factor in his death. The cause of death will be determined by the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau.” The police investigation is ongoing. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley

Young man found dead at Berkeley fraternity

A young man was found dead Saturday at Pi Kappa Phi. Image: Google Maps
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Police responded to a Berkeley fraternity Saturday morning after receiving a report of a young man found unresponsive there.

Berkeley Police Lt. Andrew Rateaver said police were called to the 2900 block of Channing Way, between Prospect and Warring streets, just before 7:30 a.m., to investigate the death. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley balcony collapse: Contractor used inferior wood and owner ignored signs of rot, including mushrooms sprouting from the surface, lawsuits allege

Remnants of beams from removed balconies show contrast between the condition of the wood from the collapsed balcony and the balcony it fell upon at the Library Gardens Apartments, in Berkeley, on Thursday, June 18, 2015. Six people died and seven were seriously injured in the early Tuesday morning accident. Photo: David Yee ©2015
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The contractor for Library Gardens used inferior wood to construct the balcony that collapsed June 16, and allowed it to be saturated by rain before enclosing it, according to 12 lawsuits filed in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday by families of those killed in the disaster as well as those injured.

The wood in the fifth-floor balcony at 2020 Kittredge St. started to rot so quickly after its 2005 construction that mushrooms later sprouted on the surface, according to the lawsuit. “Fungal bloom and biologic growth” appeared on the balcony’s exterior, as well as the balcony a floor below.

Most significantly, the balcony began to tilt downward in 2014, a sure sign that its joists had been compromised, according to the lawsuit.

Despite all those red flags, the owner and property manager of Library Gardens did not take any steps to examine the balcony’s structure and determine if it was safe, according to the lawsuits. Instead, they allowed apartment #405 to be rented out regularly until the June collapse, which killed six young people and seriously injured seven others, most of them Irish citizens who had come to the U.S. to work for the summer. They were “a group of well-educated, hard-working, healthy and happy young men and women [who] gathered to mark their friendship and celebrate a 21st birthday. Most had grown up in Dublin and were attending top-tier Irish universities,” the lawsuits read. … Continue reading »

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Police

Motorcyclist dies after crash on I-80 in Berkeley

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Update, Nov. 6: The motorcycle rider was identified as 44-year-old Kelly Wayne Dew of Benicia. His cause of death was blunt injuries, according to the Alameda County coroner’s office.

Original story, Oct. 23, 1:45 p.m. A man on a motorcycle died Friday morning after running into a minivan on Interstate 80 in Berkeley, the California Highway Patrol has reported.

According to the Oakland CHP, officers responded at about 9:15 a.m. for a report of a traffic collision on westbound I-80 near Ashby Avenue.

Officers found a collision involving a 2015 Ducati Diavel motorcycle and a 2010 Honda Odyssey minivan. The motorcyclist sustained major injuries and Berkeley Fire Department paramedics performed CPR on the scene, then took the motorcyclist to Highland Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Alameda County coroner’s office said the man’s name was not yet available as of 1:30 p.m. Friday. Berkeleyside will update this post if the name becomes available. … Continue reading »

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DA hopes to find cause of water intrusion that led to Berkeley balcony collapse

A balcony at Library Gardens in downtown Berkeley collapsed Tuesday, killing six. Photo: Emily Dugdale
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The Alameda County district attorney’s office is hoping to determine the source of water intrusion that led a fifth-floor balcony to collapse in Berkeley in June, killing six and injuring seven.

The tragedy at Library Gardens was an international story, due both to the number of victims who died or suffered serious injuries, and the fact that those impacted were young students from Ireland who were living in the Bay Area for the summer as part of a cultural exchange program.

DA’s office spokeswoman Teresa Drenick told Berkeleyside on Monday that investigators made progress “with a significant part of its investigation” last week.

Read complete coverage related to the balcony collapse.

Investigators erected scaffolding at the Library Gardens apartment complex, and retained a construction company to remove parts of the building for analysis. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s Ashby BART station re-opens after fatality involving person under a train; expect delays

Ashby BART no credit info / do not use?
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Update, 3 p.m. Ashby BART station is now open, following its closure in the wake of a person going under a train Monday at around 12:20 p.m., according to BART spokesman Jim Allison. Passengers will likely experience delays as trains get back on schedule, Allison said in a message left on the BART media hotline at 2:45 p.m. Allison confirmed that the incident resulted in a fatality and that the Alameda County coroner’s bureau responded to the scene. The case is under investigation by BART Police.

Update, 2 p.m. Ashby BART station is still closed due to the person under the train.

Original story, 12:50 p.m. Ashby BART station was closed at around 12:30 p.m. Monday due to what BART described in a Twitter alert as a “major medical emergency.” A person was reported as being under the train at 12:24 p.m., according to a message left by BART spokesman Jim Allison on its media hotline. … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

To City Council: A response to Berkeley balcony collapse

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Once you own a hammer every problem looks like a nail.

Over the past 20 years the City of Berkeley has had a number of deaths which have occurred in its rental housing stock. After each incident the response was the same: mandate inspections and charge the landlord. This rarely addresses the real problem but it is good politics.

The first was a problem of a student renting a house in North Oakland, close to the Berkeley border. His parents came … Continue reading »

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Opinionator

Op-ed: Berkeley should revisit its balcony code changes

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There are a lot of questions swirling around regarding the City of Berkeley’s handling of its investigation into the Library Gardens balcony collapse.

The recent new safety regulations passed by the City Council and believed by Berkeley Mayor Bates to be the toughest in the state, while welcomed, add much fuel to the controversy.

Two conspiracy theories have emerged to explain the City’s haste to demolish the second balcony and turn the evidence over to the owner. The first … Continue reading »

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Community

Families of four balcony victims say ‘Thanks’

Hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park Sunday night for a "Month's Mind" to honor and remember those killed in the June 16 balcony collapse. Photo: Ted Friedman
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The families of the four Irish students who remain hospitalized with injuries suffered after a balcony collapsed at 2020 Kittredge St. on June 16, killing six and injuring seven,  have issued a statement of thanks.

Aoife Beary, Clodagh Cogley, Hannah Waters and Niall Murray are all being treated at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. This statement, released Monday through the city of Berkeley, is from their families:

“As traumatic and difficult as the past five weeks have been for Aoife, Clodagh, Hannah and Niall, our constant thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families and friends of Eimear Walsh, Ashley Donohoe, Olivia Burke, Niccolai Schuster, Lorcán Miller and Eoghan Culligan. May they rest in peace. … Continue reading »

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Hundreds gather in Berkeley to remember balcony victims

Hundreds gathered in Civic Center Park Sunday night for a "Month's Mind" to honor and remember those killed in the June 16 balcony collapse. Photo: Ted Friedman
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A month after a fifth-floor balcony snapped off the façade of 2020 Kittredge St. in Berkeley, sending six people in their 20s to their deaths and injuring seven others, hundreds of people gathered at Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park on Sunday to honor them.

The event was a “Month’s Mind,” a traditional Irish requiem mass held a month after a death, according to Philip Grant, the Irish consul general in San Francisco. It is meant to remember and honor the deceased. There is a moment of silence for reflection.

“It’s a moment of reflection on what happened and where we’ve come,” said Grant. … Continue reading »

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