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Berkeley Police Department
Wednesday August 4th, 2021 :: 01:58 p.m. PDT


Community message regarding the recent fatal collision on Ashby Avenue

We recognize there has been significant community concern surrounding the recent fatal traffic collision on Ashby Avenue at Newbury Street, where a woman lost her life, and another was injured.  Because of these concerns and the seriousness of this collision, the Berkeley Police Department would like to take a moment to provide our community with additional information about the investigation. 
This remains an active investigation and therefore there are some details we are unable to share at this time. However, our hope is this information will provide our community with a better understanding of the usual investigative procedures around fatal traffic collisions as well as specific actions that occurred that evening.
On the night of July 26th, emergency personnel were responding to an unrelated collision that occurred in the area of Telegraph Avenue and Ashby Avenue.  While on their way to the collision, the Berkeley Police Department began to receive multiple calls about the collision on Ashby Avenue at Newbury Street.  In response, some officers were diverted to this second more serious Ashby Avenue and Newbury Street collision.  Additional emergency personnel were also summoned to assist.
Because of the severity of the collision on Ashby Avenue and Newbury Street, the Department requested (called-in from home) members of the Department’s Fatal Accident Investigation Team (FAIT).  The FAIT team is comprised of personnel with additional/advanced training in traffic collisions, investigations, and evidence collection. 
While investigating the series of events surrounding the collision, investigators contacted the people involved in the incident as well as witnesses in the area. Investigators also searched the area for any video surveillance cameras that may have captured the incident. These investigative steps are standard in an incident of this type.
As has been previously reported, the driver involved in the collision drove to a location where they felt safe and called 911 to report the incident.  Officers contacted and spoke with the driver, who cooperated with their investigation. The driver was evaluated for drug and alcohol impairment— which included administration of Field Sobriety Tests (FSTs) and a Preliminary Alcohol Screening (PAS) test.  As a result of the evaluation, officers did not observe any objective symptoms of impairment.  The driver’s vehicle was also towed and securely stored for further investigation, which is also standard procedure during this type of investigation. 
Since that time, investigators have consulted with the California Highway Patrol (to examine the vehicle), the Coroner’s Office (to determine the cause of death), the District Attorney’s Office (for investigative guidance) and members of the City’s Vision Zero Task Force (to ascertain if there are some intersection design recommendations that may reduce the potential for collisions in the future). 
The Department understands the need for answers about this tragic incident and we are committed to seeking those answers.  As is standard with all law enforcement agencies, the Berkeley Police Department must rely on the evidence we collect during the course of an investigation to determine the cause of a collision and/or what crimes were committed during an incident.  It is important for us to conduct a thorough and deliberate investigation, which ensures all investigate steps are completed and all evidence has been recovered.
We would like to thank you for your continued patience and support as we conduct our investigation. We intend to provide updated information about this incident as soon as it becomes available.
Case 2021-00033409

Berkeley Police Department
2100 Martin Luther King Jr Way
Berkeley, CA 94704

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 510-981-5900

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