Robert Gilchrist, 56, an Oakland resident, was arrested this week in connection with a vehicle accident in April that killed Berkeley resident Joseph Luft.
On April 4, around noon, Luft was walking east on Bancroft Way and crossed Sacramento Street when he was hit by a vehicle, which sent him 40 feet in the air before landing on asphalt, according to an affidavit written by Anthony Cerletti, an officer with Berkeley Police Department. Gilchrist, who told police at the scene he was legally blind, was arrested Monday — nearly four months after the accident — on suspicion of driving with an expired license and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
Luft suffered major injuries and was transported to Highland Hospital in Oakland. There, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead by medical staff. He was 98.
Luft was appointed as a professor of psychology at San Francisco State University in 1954 and had been an emeritus professor for 28 years. Luft was known for being the co-inventor of the Johari window model, a tool used to better understand self-awareness and relationships.
The driver remained at the scene and was cooperative with police, authorities said. Police determined through a records check that Gilchrist was driving with a license that expired 14 years ago, according to the affidavit.
After the investigation, BPD spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats said drugs and alcohol did not appear to be factors in the incident.
Based on the investigation, officers determined the driver failed to yield to the pedestrian while he was in a crosswalk, authorities said.
Gilchrist is scheduled for a plea hearing at Oakland’s Wiley W. Manuel Courthouse on Wednesday. He is being held in Santa Rita Jail with bail set at $30,000 and will celebrate his 57th birthday Aug. 8.