Tag Archives: Pedestrian safety Berkeley


Berkeleyside blotter: Crime in Berkeley, Oct. 22-28

Selected calls to the Berkeley Police, via CrimeMapping.com. Scroll down for detailed maps. Click the map above for the list. See the map key here.
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This overview of recent crime in Berkeley is based on reports to the Berkeley Police unless otherwise noted. Please share photos, videos and tips, about breaking news or neighborhood safety issues, via email at crime@berkeleyside.com or on Facebook or Twitter; let us know if you prefer anonymity. Don’t assume someone else will alert us — you may be the only one to get in touch. We want to know about issues of concern and rely on readers to help us stay informed.

From Oct. 22-28, there were reports of 10 robberies22 burglaries11 assaults or batteries, four weapon-involved calls and one sexual assault, according to CrimeMapping.com. There were also 15 stolen vehicles14 disturbances and 36 auto break-ins or thefts from vehicles reported. A weapons call and two vehicle thefts were reported by the University of California Police Department (UCPD). Click the links for the latest numbers. The following items represent a sampling of calls, and times may be approximate; incidents that took place during a range of time are listed unless otherwise noted by the beginning of that time period.

Thursday, Oct. 22

A vehicle was stolen at 2:24 a.m. in the 1000 block of Euclid Avenue.

There were two calls involving a gun or other weapon, at 2:40 a.m. in the 100 block of Seawall Drive, and at 6:38 a.m. in the 2700 block of Belrose Avenue. On Belrose, police arrested a 42-year-old Oakland man sitting in a vehicle with a loaded gun just south of UC Berkeley’s Clark Kerr Campus. Eliexer Rodriguez, 42, remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail with a bail of $280,000. He was scheduled for a pretrial hearing Tuesday, Nov. 10. Read more on Berkeleyside.

At 9:30 a.m., police arrested a man they say carjacked a driver in West Berkeley after breaking into the municipal animal shelter the prior night to steal a dog he’d been turned down from adopting. Read more on Berkeleyside. (This brief first appeared in last week’s blotter.)

There were four disturbance calls: at 1:31 p.m. in the 1500 block of Grizzly Peak Boulevard; at 2:30 p.m. in the 2800 block of Adeline Street; at 9:49 p.m. in the 1700 block of Franklin Street; and at 10:13 p.m. in the 1200 block of Ashby Avenue.

There was a felony assault or battery at 3:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Tyler Street.

There were two home burglaries, at 4 p.m. in the 2600 block of Telegraph Avenue, and at 8:30 p.m. in the 1100 block of Glen Avenue.

The BART Police released a brief statement about a strong-arm robbery on a Richmond-bound train at the Ashby station at about 4:20 p.m. after a man accidentally dropped his Samsung Galaxy S6 cellphone on the floor. As he reached down to pick it up, a man “slapped the victim’s hand away, grabbed the phone and fled from the station. Officers responded and unsuccessfully searched for the suspect; they were also unable to track the phone.” The victim sustained a minor abrasion to his hand during the robbery, but declined medical attention. The robbery was described as black, in his early 20s, 5 feet 7 inches tall with a medium build and light complexion. He was wearing a black hoodie and black pants. (This item first appeared in last week’s blotter.)

There was a robbery at 7:30 p.m. in the 1400 block of University Avenue. Police arrested a 57-year-old man and a 41-year-old woman in connection with the case but they are no longer in custody and charges do not appear to have been filed. … Continue reading »

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Crash in West Berkeley sends pedestrian to Highland

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A male pedestrian was taken to Highland Hospital with major injuries Friday after being struck by a vehicle on the Gilman Street off-ramp from westbound Interstate 80.

The California Highway Patrol said the man’s name is not being released “due to the severity” of his injuries, and “until he is medically stable.”

According to the CHP, officers were dispatched just before 7:30 p.m. to a possible traffic collision on the off-ramp.

Officers found a vehicle and a pedestrian when they arrived.

“The pedestrian sustained major injuries to the head and was attended to by the Albany Fire Department,” then taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland for treatment.

According to the preliminary investigation, a 64-year-old Vallejo man driving a 2011 Kia Sorento was traveling on the off-ramp when, “for an unknown reason, the pedestrian walked into the … lane directly into the path of the Kia.” … Continue reading »

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Urban planning

Open house displays plans for Shattuck Square facelift

Shattuck Ave. Image: Google Maps
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Berkeley residents got their first look at the city’s plan to redesign traffic patterns around Shattuck Square on Tuesday night at an open house in the Aurora Theater.

The room was lined with illustrations of the project plans and grids where attendees could rate the current pedestrian, cycling and driving conditions of Shattuck Avenue. Around the displays, engineers, city officials and urban designers associated with the project were on hand to answer questions and provide additional information.

Read more about traffic safety in past Berkeleyside coverage.

The Shattuck Avenue reconfiguration and pedestrian safety project is a part of the larger Downtown Area Plan, which was adopted by the City Council in 2012 and encompasses environmental goals, transit and access, community health, economic development and more.

Among the most dangerous intersections in the city for pedestrians, the corner of University Avenue and Shattuck is number two on the list for pedestrian-car collisions and near misses. … Continue reading »

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Pedestrian seriously injured after Berkeley crash

Traffic is backed up after a serious accident on Telegraph and Ashby. Image: Google Maps
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Update, May 21, 3 p.m. Police determined that the primary collision factor in this crash was a right-of-way violation by the Volvo driver, who failed to yield to the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Update, April 16, 5:45 p.m. Police released additional information about the crash in a Nixle alert at 5:35 p.m.

According to police, there was a report of an injury collision at Telegraph and Ashby avenues at 3:18 p.m. that possibly involved a semi-truck and pedestrian.

According to the preliminary investigation, a driver in a Volvo station wagon heading north on Telegraph was turning right onto Ashby when he struck a female pedestrian.

“While making his turn … the driver may have hit the accelerator and not the brake, causing the vehicle to go into the intersection as a panel truck was traveling east on Ashby. The Volvo then hit the side of the truck as it passed,” police wrote. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley 911: Pedestrian taken to Highland after crash; callers report loud boom, too

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A pedestrian was taken to Highland Hospital after a vehicle struck her in Berkeley at about 7:45 p.m., according to a scanner audio recording reviewed by Berkeleyside.

Authorities received a call that a female, who was unconscious with a possible head and leg injury, had been hit by a vehicle at Ashby Avenue and Deakin Street at 7:44 p.m., as per the recording.

She was on the ground when first responders arrived. One of them reported on the scanner that she … Continue reading »

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Update: Pedestrian hit by van in West Berkeley

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Update, Feb. 26, 1:30 p.m. Berkeley Police spokeswoman Officer Jennifer Coats released a bit more information by email about Thursday’s crash. She said, based on the preliminary investigation, the driver was northbound on San Pablo Avenue and, as he turned left onto Allston Way, struck the pedestrian in the crosswalk.

Coats said the pedestrian was still in the hospital when she last checked, but had been able to speak with traffic investigators.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with the police, Coats said. Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to be a factor in the crash.

Coats said the driver was a 26-year-old homeless man. The pedestrian was a 63-year-old Hayward man. … Continue reading »

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Thinking about jaywalking in Berkeley? Think again

Police ticked pedestrians last fall during a pedestrian operation similar to the one planned in Berkeley on Saturday. Photo: Eric Panzer
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Berkeley Police traffic officers will be out for a special enforcement effort Saturday to educate — and potentially ticket — pedestrians who violate traffic laws.

The Berkeley Police Department will be in the downtown area Saturday, Jan. 24, on the lookout for pedestrians who flout signal lights and fail to use crosswalks, along with other safety issues.

A similar operation in Berkeley in September prompted waves of comment on the Berkeleyside Facebook page and on a subsequent story on Berkeleyside itself.

Police said this week that, according to 2013 data, most of the city’s injury collisions with pedestrians involved pedestrians downtown. That year, 24% of all collisions with injuries involved pedestrians, according to a statement released Thursday by the department. … Continue reading »

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Injured pedestrian taken to hospital after Berkeley crash

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A man with moderate injuries was taken by ambulance to Highland Hospital on Sunday evening after being struck by a driver in South Berkeley.

Police and paramedics were called to the scene at about 6 p.m. for a reported traffic collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, said Officer Byron White, a Berkeley Police spokesman.

White said the man had been listening to music through headphones while running westbound across Sacramento Street at Woolsey Street when the accident took place. … Continue reading »

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A tragic death in Berkeley spurs funds for traffic beacons

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Nine months after a 98-year-old pedestrian was killed by a motorist while crossing Sacramento Street in a crosswalk in the middle of the day, the city is taking steps to install a flashing beacon pedestrian alert at the intersection where the accident occurred.

Joseph Luft, a Berkeley resident, psychologist and former San Francisco State University professor, was out for one of his regular strolls around lunchtime April 5 when he was hit by a car while crossing Sacramento at Bancroft Way. He died that evening at the hospital.

The driver, Robert Gilchrist, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter and is being held in Santa Rita jail, with a pre-trial hearing scheduled for Dec. 31. Gilchrist didn’t have a valid driver’s license at the time of the accident and told police he was legally blind.

In the wake of Luft’s death, a number of residents complained to city officials about safety at the Sacramento-Bancroft intersection, which is the site of an assisted living facility, and near Washington Elementary School. Cars barreling down Sacramento, a thoroughfare, often don’t see or stop for pedestrians, even when they’re in the crosswalk, residents said. … 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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Driver to enter plea after woman hurt in hit-and-run near Berkeley’s People’s Park

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A Berkeley driver on probation for robbery — who reportedly fled in his car after knocking down a woman in the street, causing minor injuries, and hitting another vehicle as he tried to escape — is set to enter a plea in Alameda County Superior Court this week.

Authorities say James Jamell Watson-Dixon, 28, was driving on Dwight Way west of Hillegass Avenue on June 25 at 5:35 p.m. when he ran into a woman with his vehicle and knocked her to the ground, causing visible injuries and pain to her leg, according to court papers.

Before driving off, he stopped briefly and, as he did, a witness reached through his window and seized his wallet, which held Watson-Dixon’s driver’s license, among other documents. The witness later gave this to police. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Police stop sparks racial controversy

The arrest of two people in Berkeley last Friday has prompted charges from some about racial profiling. Scroll down to view a video of the arrest. Image: Kerby L/YouTube
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A recent police stop in Berkeley has prompted some community members to criticize police for racial insensitivity, and potential racial profiling.

Part of the exchange was captured on video, which appears below. The footage was posted on YouTube less than a week ago by one of the women who was stopped, and has been viewed nearly 8,000 times.

Berkeley Police officials said Thursday that the video has been taken out of context, and showed restraint by officers who were antagonized while trying to detain a group of pedestrians who nearly caused a traffic accident near Telegraph Avenue on Friday night.

In response to general questions raised during the course of the footage, police said officers are not required to inform someone prior to handcuffing them; do not have to read Miranda rights for adults until someone is in custody and being questioned about an alleged offense; and are not required to tell other individuals at an active scene why someone is being arrested.
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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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