64-year-old Berkeley resident dies after being struck in a hit-and-run

A 64-year-old Berkeley resident who was struck while bicycling in an hit-and-run collision earlier this month died this week.

The man, identified by the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Bureau as Michael Lake, was hit Jan. 13 at about 6:40 p.m., according to Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Officer Jennifer Coats. The police and fire departments responded to a collision at the intersection of University and McGee avenues, where it was reported that a car that struck a bicyclist had allegedly fled the scene, heading east on University Avenue.

Lake was taken to a local hospital with serious injuries, Coats said in an email. He died Monday, due to complications from multiple blunt traumatic injuries, according to the coroner’s bureau.

Lake served as a parking attendant for LAZ Parking, a parking company that contracts with the city, according to Ali Bendhaou, an operations manager at the company who said he worked with Lake for 11 years.

Bendhaou called Lake “one of my best attendants,” saying that Lake always knew how to make a customer happy, even if there were no parking spaces available.

John Bautista, a supervisor at LAZ, described Lake as loyal, honest and eager to talk to people and answer questions. He said Lake loved riding his bike and would stop to help anyone who needed it, or give a homeless person extra food if he had any.

“He was a kind, generous person,” Bautista said. “He was always cheerful. … Say (there’s) a homeless person or someone he’d help on the street … he’ll pull over.”

More than one bicycle collision has killed a Berkeley resident in the last couple months. Herman Shum, who served as vice principal at St. Mary’s College High School in Berkeley, died in December after being hit by a truck while riding on Highland Road near Livermore.

Last September, the death of 62-year-old cyclist and Berkeley resident Kurt Wehner in a collision at the intersection of Spruce and Eunice streets sparked calls for improved safety regulations in the area, including reduced speed limits and stricter enforcement.

The vehicle that struck Lake was described as a white or beige four-door sedan, with tinted windows, according to Coats. As of Wednesday, BPD was still investigating the incident and had made no arrests. Police are asking anyone with information to call their traffic bureau at (510) 981-5900.


Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.