Tag Archives: Berkeley traffic accident

‘Double-roundabouts’ approved at Berkeley’s Gilman interchange; can’t happen without Measure BB money

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After many months of analysis, and about a decade in development, Caltrans has said the city can move ahead with plans for proposed double-roundabouts in the problematic I-80 and Gilman Street interchange in West Berkeley.

It’s the first time the transportation agency has approved a concept for double-roundabouts in the region, according to city of Berkeley transportation chief Farid Javandel. In early October, Caltrans gave Berkeley staff the green light to move ahead with an environmental review of the project, and the city went public with the news Monday.

Whether the project can actually happen depends on the November election: Funding for the double-roundabouts, along with other significant investments in Berkeley, is part of Measure BB, the county-wide transportation tax. Without approval of that measure, the city won’t be able to proceed. (Scroll down for details.)

Currently, there are eight entry points to the intersection on either side of the freeway. The intersections are controlled by stop signs but drivers are often unsure about who has the right of way. Berkeleyside readers have called the area “a ridiculous mess” and “the most dysfunctional intersection … anywhere in the United States.”

The city has said the intersection “is one of the most problematic in Berkeley. It also generates the most complaints.” … Continue reading »

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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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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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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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Berkeleyside Blotter: Crime in Berkeley, June 12-18

Selected calls for service to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. (Scroll down for maps of burglaries, auto burglaries and auto thefts.) Click the map for the full list. See the map key here.
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This is a partial list of recent crime in Berkeley, compiled by Berkeleyside, and based on reports to the Berkeley Police Department unless otherwise noted. See recent Berkeley crime coverage here.

The following items represent just a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate. From June 12-18, there were 19 burglary reports22 auto break-in or theft from a vehicle reports, and eight stolen vehicle reports to the Berkeley Police Department, according to CrimeMapping.comEight robberies16 assaults, domestic violence incidents or batteries and one sexual assault were reported. Significant incidents from the University of California Police Department included one robbery, four burglaries and a sexual assault. These numbers are subject to change. Click the previous links for the most current information.

[Editor’s Note: We always appreciate photographs and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at tips@berkeleyside.com or via Facebook or Twitter; please let us know when you write if you prefer to be anonymous.] 

Thursday, June 12

Three home burglaries were reported: at 4:50 a.m. in the 2200 block of Haste Street; at 7:30 a.m. in the 1200 block of 66th Street; and at 11 p.m. in the 2300 block of Durant Avenue.

A parolee who led police on a short foot chase Thursday was linked to a stolen car full of burglary tools. Just before 1 p.m., the Berkeley Police Department received a call about a man in South Berkeley who was slumped over in a car that reportedly had been running for three hours, said Capt. Andrew Greenwood, in the 2900 block of Adeline Street. Police responded and found a 41-year-old man who was later identified as Roberto Pasillas of Berkeley. He was arrested after running from police. Pasillas remains in custody and is scheduled for a hearing to revoke his parole on June 27, according to the Alameda County sheriff’s department. (Read more on Berkeleyside.)

The Berkeley Police Department arrested a man alleged to have tried to shoot and kill his wife in West Berkeley. According to Berkeley Police, the incident occurred in the 800 block of Bancroft Way between Fifth and Sixth streets at 10 p.m. The 68-year-old man, Harold Owen Covington was at home when he got into a verbal dispute with his wife. According to court papers, the woman came home after visiting a friend to find all the doors locked. When she tried to go inside, police said Covington told her, “If you come in, I’ll blow your head off.” Police said he then opened the door slightly, pointed his shotgun at her head and chest, and said again he would kill her. She asked him to put down the gun, and he refused, according to court papers, telling her that she had disrespected him. She grabbed the shotgun and pushed it away from her. They struggled briefly and the gun went off, striking the top of their door. Afterward, the woman was able to talk Covington into putting down the weapon and letting her inside. The woman called police Saturday, June 14, shortly after 5 a.m. to report what had happened. Officers responded to the home and arrested Covington on suspicion of attempted homicide. He is being held on several related charges with a $115,000 bail at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing June 25 at Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse in downtown Oakland. (Berkeleyside broke the news about this incident June 16.)Continue reading »

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21-year-old arrested in felony hit-and-run car wreck

A mangled Corvette involved in an early morning accident on Tunnel Road in Berkeley. Photo:   Jacquelyn McCormick		7:08 AM (3 minutes ago)
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Update: 4:22 p.m. The driver of the smashed Corvette is Anthony Edward Torpey, 21, of Dublin, Castro Valley, according to Officer Jenn Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman. He was arrested at 3:52 a.m. and was taken to Berkeley Jail, where he is being held on $91,200 bail, according to police records. In addition to being held on a DUI charge and a felony hit-and-run charge, he was arrested on suspicion of driving with a suspended license.

The 24-year-old passenger is in critical condition, said Coats.

Torpey was previously arrested in December 2012 after a crash in Dublin, according to police records.

According to Torpey’s Facebook page, the Corvette appears to be his. In a photo of the car posted on June 11, he wrote “hard work pays off” as well as “My Main Girl.”

Update, 11:37 a.m.: Tunnel Road is now open in all directions, according to Berkeley Police. The investigation into the crash continues.

Update: 7:45 a.m. The Berkeley Police Department arrested the driver of the Corvette, a 21-year-old man, on suspicion of felony hit and run, driving under the influence and other charges, according to Officer Jennifer Coats, department spokeswoman.

The driver, whose name has not been released, fled the scene of the 2:22 a.m. accident on Tunnel, leaving his seriously injured passenger, a 24-year-old male, behind in the car, according to Coats, Berkeley police later found and arrested the driver.

The passenger “sustained significant injuries” during the collision. … Continue reading »

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7-year-old cyclist in serious condition after traffic accident on Bancroft Way in Berkeley

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Update, Aug. 12: Authorities have ruled that the accident was due to a right-of-way violation caused by the cyclist. Said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police spokeswoman, the boy rode his bicycle off the sidewalk and into traffic in the roadway, where he was struck immediately by an oncoming vehicle.

Update, June 25: According to the Berkeley Police Department, the young cyclist has been released from hospital and is home recovering.

Update, June 17: Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats said the boy remains in the hospital. He was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Original story, June 16: A 7-year-old boy sustained serious injuries after being involved in a traffic accident on Bancroft Way at Acton Street in West Berkeley. … Continue reading »

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Wanted man causes major injury wreck on I-80

Image: Google Maps
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A man wanted for weapons violations and kidnapping was arrested in Berkeley on Saturday night after crashing into several vehicles on the highway and sending two people to the hospital.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the agency received a call shortly before 7 p.m. about a “reckless driver in a small red vehicle” on Interstate 80 near Gilman Street in Berkeley.  … Continue reading »

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1 sent to hospital after broadside crash in Berkeley

Car crash at Ashby and Telegraph, April 23, 2014. Photo: Dominick Palamenti
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One driver was sent to the hospital Wednesday morning after broadsiding another vehicle at Ashby and Telegraph avenues, authorities said.

Police got a report of an overturned vehicle in the South Berkeley intersection shortly before 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, said Officer Jennifer Coats, Berkeley Police Department spokeswoman, via email.

Coats said one driver had been westbound on Ashby turning left onto southbound Telegraph when another driver struck him. … 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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Man arrested after DUI car crash, hit and run in Berkeley

Image: Google Maps
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A driver who crashed into several parked vehicles in North Berkeley, then fled the scene as his car burned, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and hit and run just after 9:30 Saturday morning, authorities said.

Authorities identified the driver as Geoffrey Cronin, 42, of Berkeley. Cronin was arrested last year in connection with a knife assault and police chase in Berkeley in August.

Saturday, March 29, at 8:16 a.m., Berkeley officers responded to Walnut and Cedar streets after a caller reported an injury accident involving the driver and a parked vehicle, said Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats, via email. … Continue reading »

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