Berkeley police vehicle injures pedestrian at Sacramento Street, Allston Way intersection

Photo of BPD car
Andrew Huang/Staff
A pedestrian was injured due to a collision with a Berkeley Police Department vehicle July 14.

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Update 7/20/21: This article has been updated to include information from Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Byron White.

A collision between a Berkeley Police Department vehicle and a pedestrian at the intersection of Sacramento Street and Allston Way on July 14 resulted in injury to the pedestrian with a potential need for surgery.

As the collision involved a BPD employee and resulted in injury, the department’s Policy 501.14 requires that an investigation be conducted by California Highway Patrol, or CHP, according to BPD spokesperson Byron White.

“Our preliminary investigation indicates the Berkeley Police patrol vehicle was stopped at the red light of Allston Way, facing westbound,” said officer David Arias, CHP Oakland Area spokesperson, in an email. “When the light turned green, the Patrol Vehicle made a left turn onto Sacramento Street and collided into a pedestrian on the crosswalk, at approximately 10 mph.”

The pedestrian, who wishes to remain anonymous due to privacy concerns, was walking to the post office that afternoon when she was hit by the patrol vehicle, which the pedestrian said was going much faster than 10 miles per hour.

The pedestrian said the officer then got out of his car, telling her not to move and that he hadn’t seen her in the intersection.

“I flew, landed on my behind, then I rolled and landed on my face,” the pedestrian said. “I didn’t move, I couldn’t move, because I couldn’t feel my left leg and my left arm. My right side of my face was burning up cause it hit the concrete.”

Soon thereafter, she heard the voice of a woman asking for her name, checking her pulse and comforting her. 

That woman was Angelina Gabrielli, an EMT who happened to be driving home when she and her husband saw the pedestrian lying face down on Allston Way, according to her husband and independent journalist, Peter Kay, who goes by a pseudonym and first reported the incident.

When Gabrielli asked the pedestrian what had happened, the officer told her to leave the scene and that she was no longer needed, the pedestrian recalled.

“They failed to render aid, even though they’re first responders,” Gabrielli said in a Twitter message. “They tried to rush me off scene before I handed her off to the next person in the chain of care, which would be a paramedic or higher.”

According to White, officers on scene try to decide what they can do to help the person without making it worse.

In this case, he said, it is likely the officers decided that no immediate aid, such as a bandage, would help, so they called the “appropriate care” for the situation and waited.

When the paramedics arrived, the pedestrian was taken to a local hospital following a “complaint of pain,” according to Arias. Though the CHP’s investigation reported “no visible injuries,” she spent the night in the hospital going from X-ray to X-ray. 

The pedestrian was released from the hospital Thursday at around 5 a.m. with a fractured knee, swollen right foot and multiple painkillers. The pedestrian said she has an upcoming orthopedic appointment that will determine whether her knee needs surgery.

While the pedestrian focuses on recovery, a report from the city manager, the supervisor’s avoidability report and a possible review of the preventability of the accident as determined by a Department Traffic Accident Review board will follow the incident, White added.

Although the officer involved was on duty, White said, the incident is a civil matter and will be handled as any similar incident between two civilians would be.

“Every day, the men and woman of the Berkeley Police Department make an effort to drive safely and avoid collisions in our community,” White said in an email. “We very much hope that the person who was injured will have a quick recovery and apologize for the traumatic experience this collision caused.”

Contact Veronica Roseborough at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @v_roseborough.