Tag Archives: Berkeley fatality

Police

Berkeley police rule cyclist responsible for fatal crash

Kurt Wehner. Photo via Facebook
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Authorities have found a 62-year-old Berkeley cyclist at fault for the crash with a vehicle that ultimately took his life about three weeks ago.

In response to repeated inquiries from Berkeleyside, police said Tuesday that Kurt Wehner rode through a stop sign and crashed into a 2008 Volkswagen in a North Berkeley intersection Sept. 21 shortly after 8 a.m. at Spruce and Eunice streets.

Wehner, a longtime Berkeley resident, died the following day at Highland Hospital.

Berkeley police investigators said Tuesday in a prepared statement that Wehner had been riding his mountain-style bike south on Spruce toward Eunice, where there was a posted stop sign for southbound traffic.

“Just prior the bicyclist was passing vehicles on the wrong side of the roadway at an unsafe speed in violation of the posted 25 mph speed limit,” police wrote.

The Volkswagen — driven by a 63-year-old Berkeley resident whose name has not been released — had stopped on Eunice facing east. The driver had proceeded into the intersection when, police say, Wehner crashed into the vehicle.  … Continue reading »

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Cyclist dies after North Berkeley crash with car

Kurt Wehner. Photo: Facebook
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Local cyclist Kurt Wehner died Monday after being involved in a crash with a vehicle in North Berkeley on Sunday morning.

Berkeley resident Wehner, 62, died Monday at Highland Hospital in Oakland at 4 p.m., according to the Alameda County coroner’s office. No cause of death has been listed, pending an autopsy that will likely be performed Tuesday.

Writing on Facebook on Monday evening, John Lutterman of Anchorage, Alaska, identified Wehner as his cousin. Lutterman said Wehner had been disconnected from life support Monday and had died.

“Kurt, and his brother Todd, turned me on to serious biking when I was a kid,” he wrote. “I’ll miss Kurt’s endlessly good-natured Heyoka spirit. Reliving many poignant, but also lots of crazy and funny memories of Kurt tonight.” … Continue reading »

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Bicyclist suffers life-threatening injuries after colliding with car at the intersection of Spruce and Eunice

A cyclist was struck by a car Sunday morning at the intersection of Spruce and Eunice. Photo: Larry Kudsk
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A bicyclist pedaling on Spruce near Eunice was seriously injured this morning when the bicyclist and a car collided, according to Berkeley police.

The accident happened at at 8:15 a.m. and the bicyclist suffered life-threatening injuries, according to police. He or she was transported to the hospital.

The Fatal Accident Investigation Team is on the scene. The driver and witnesses are cooperating with investigators. Police have not said which party was at fault in the accident.

The police department is … Continue reading »

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Police

Richmond man dies after Berkeley motorcycle crash

Photo: Alexander Sinclair Merenkov‎
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A 48-year-old Richmond man died after a collision with a pick-up truck in Berkeley last week, authorities reported Thursday evening.

Friday, Sept. 12, Berkeley Police officers responded to an injury collision at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and University Avenue just after 8:30 p.m., said Officer Jennifer Coats, department spokeswoman, in a prepared statement.

The motorcyclist was identified as Gregory Allen Scoggin of Richmond. … Continue reading »

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Police

Berkeley man, 60, falls to his death from Grizzly Peak Blvd

Grizzly Peak Blvd near Signpost 14. Photo: Tracey Taylor
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Update, 1:20 p.m.: The victim has been identified by the Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau as Donald Terrence Odwyer, 60, of Berkeley. UCPD Lt. Marc DeCoulode said witnesses saw Odwyer walking then falling on Grizzly Peak Blvd Sunday. They called emergency services at 8:24 p.m. Moraga and Orinda Fire Department responded. UCPD arrived on scene at 9:45 p.m. after jurisdiction was established. The incident happened on UC Berkeley property. Odwyer was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Original story: A 60-year-old Berkeley man died after falling from a look-out spot on Grizzly Peak Boulevard on the evening of Sunday, Aug. 17, according to UC Berkeley Police. … Continue reading »

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Police

Man dies after falling ill at Ashby BART in Berkeley

A man died earlier this week after passing out at the Ashby BART station. Photo: Michael Patrick
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Update, Aug. 15, 4:30 p.m. Authorities have identified the man who died after having health complications at the Ashby BART station Tuesday as 54-year-old Keith Golson of Berkeley.

Original story, Aug. 14, 1 p.m. A man died this week after passing out at the Ashby BART station in South Berkeley, authorities reported Wednesday.

The incident took place just before 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, according to BART.

Tuesday night, the Berkeley Fire Department responded to the west lot of the Ashby BART station for a report of a sick man who had passed out. … Continue reading »

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Crime

Driver charged in vehicular manslaughter of Berkeley man is ‘legally blind’

Joseph Luft. Courtesy: Luft family
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Update, Aug. 7: The Alameda County district attorney’s office has increased the vehicular manslaughter charge against Robert Gilchrist to a felony, according to court papers dated Aug. 7. See the complaint here. Authorities say Gilchrist struck and killed a 98-year-old pedestrian while driving in Berkeley in April.

Original story, Aug. 4: The driver charged with killing a 98-year-old former psychology professor on his daily walk in Berkeley in April had no license and told police he is “legally blind,” according to court papers that became available last week.

Robert Jack Gilchrist, 56, was charged by the Alameda County district attorney’s office July 31 with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license, also a misdemeanor.

Vehicular manslaughter involves driving “in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence,” according to court papers.

Authorities say Gilchrist, of Oakland, hit the 98-year-old Berkeley man as he walked in a crosswalk on Sacramento Street at Bancroft Way on April 4. … Continue reading »

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Body of man found off Grizzly Peak Boulevard

Look out at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Boulevard
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Update 11 a.m.: The Alameda County coroner’s office has identified the man as Lorenzo Baltazar-Trujillo, 22, of Concord.

Original story: UC Berkeley police are investigating the death of a man who may have fallen to his death Sunday while admiring a view of San Francisco Bay from Grizzly Peak Boulevard.

A hiker spotted the man’s body around 2:26 p.m. and called the police, according to Sgt. Rick Florendo of the UC Berkeley Police Department. The Oakland Fire Department pronounced the man dead at the scene.

The victim many have fallen 100 feet from a rocky outcropping that looks out at a view of San Francisco Bay. Police had put yellow police tape Sunday evening around a white car that was parked near the scene at Signpost 15 on Grizzly Peak Blvd. … Continue reading »

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Car strikes and kills 98-year-old pedestrian in Berkeley

Joseph Luft. Courtesy: Luft family
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A 98-year-old man was struck by a car Friday afternoon while crossing the intersection of Bancroft Way and Sacramento Street. He later died of his injuries.

Berkeley police said the man was struck around 12:23 p.m.

He was conscious and talking when police arrived, but he died at the hospital around 6 p.m., according to Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats.

The Alameda County coroner’s office identified him as Joseph Luft of Berkeley.

The driver is cooperating with police, Coats said in a press release. It does not appear that drugs or alcohol were factors in the collision, she said.

Luft, a psychologist, was the creator of the Johari Window, a technique he and Harry Ingrahm invented in 1955 to help people better understand their relationship with others. He taught at San Francisco State University for more than 20 years.

The Luft family released a statement Saturday stating that Joseph Luft was a World War II veteran, “a proud father of four and beloved local figure,” who had taken a daily walk for more than 50 years. … Continue reading »

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Potentially hazardous chemical suicide in Berkeley called for collaborative response, cautious approach

Kustu
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The death by chemical suicide earlier this week of a former UC Berkeley professor left many in the community reeling with disbelief.

Berkeleyside’s revelation that the person found dead in a room at the Berkeley City Club was Sydney Kustu, who killed herself on her 71st birthday using a potentially deadly chemical called sodium azide, was shocking to those who had known her, including neighbors and friends who remembered her as “friendly,” “kind” and “generous.” The nature of the death was also so unusual that it prompted many who had not known her to take pause. … Continue reading »

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Chemical suicide victim was UC Berkeley professor

Kustu
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The woman who committed suicide using a toxic chemical on Tuesday at the Berkeley City Club, prompting a hazardous materials evacuation, was a former professor at UC Berkeley. She killed herself on her 71st birthday.

Sydney Kustu was a professor emerita in plant and microbial biology at Cal’s College of Natural Resources and a member of the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. She was born March 18, 1943, according to an official at the Alameda County coroner’s office, who said Kustu was a Berkeley resident.

Kustu was found deceased in a room at the City Club by a maid, according to an employee of the club, which also operates as a hotel. She had left notes for authorities warning them about the dangerous substance, according to the staffer. … Continue reading »

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Elderly woman commits suicide with toxic chemical at Berkeley City Club, leaves note to warn authorities

Berkeley Women's City Club, 2315 Durant Ave, Berkeley, CA
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UPDATE, March 19: Authorities identified the woman who was found dead at the Berkeley City Club on Tuesday as 71-year-old Sydney Kustu. Read more about Kustu in Berkeleyside’s follow-up story, published Wednesday.

UPDATE, 9:10 p.m.: The person who committed suicide today at the Berkeley City Club was an 80-year-old woman who killed herself in her room using sodium azide, according to the Oakland Tribune. The woman lived in an apartment on the third floor of the landmark building, police officer Ethell Wilson said. The Tribune also reported that the woman left a note warning authorities of the dangerous situation. Sodium azide, a colorless salt, is the gas-forming component in many car airbag systems. When mixed with water it is acutely toxic. … Continue reading »

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Person hit, killed by freight train on tracks in Berkeley

The Union Pacific freight train that struck a pedestrian today was still stationary on the tracks at around noon. Photo: Bryan Westfall
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Update, March 18: The Alameda County Coroner’s Bureau has identified the man who was struck and killed by the train as Matthew Finch, 28, of El Cerrito, according to the Bay City News.

Original story: A man was struck and killed by a Union Pacific freight train Monday in Berkeley on the train tracks just south of Harrison Street near the Berkeley-Albany border, authorities said.

The person, believed to be an adult male, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Berkeley Deputy Fire Chief Avery Webb.

The train, which was headed from Roseville to Oakland, was still stationary on the tracks at around midday, according to Berkeleyside reader Bryan Westfall, who said the front of the engine was located just behind Books Inc. on Berkeley’s Fourth Street.

BFD first received a call about a south-bound train striking a pedestrian at 9:06 a.m. on Monday March 17 at the northernmost part of Berkeley near the grass soccer fields south of Harrison Street. An ambulance, fire engine and the duty fire chief responded. … Continue reading »

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