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Update: Witness Recounts Aftermath of Major-Injury Crash Involving Skateboard, Prius on Marin

The accident took place Monday evening on the Albany-Berkeley border, at Tulare and Marin avenues.

A skateboarder was sent to Highland Hospital on Monday night after receiving "pretty significant injuries" resulting from a crash at Marin and Tulare avenues, authorities said. 

As of 1:40 a.m., the Berkeley Police Department had declined to release many details of the accident.

Berkeley Police Lt. Randolph Files confirmed that there was a pending investigation into an accident on Marin involving a skateboarder and a vehicle, but would not share other aspects of the crash.

Files also would not release the age of the victim.

One reader sent an email about the accident to Albany Patch at 7:40 p.m., describing it as "nasty looking," with several police cars, at least one vehicle involved and debris in the roadway.

As of 9:54 p.m., he said police were still on the scene and had blocked off Marin between Ventura and Tulare avenues. 

Another local resident was one of the first to arrive after the accident happened.

Berkeley resident Matt Winkelstein said he was on his way to the grocery store when he came across the Prius stopped in the intersection of Marin and Tulare with its lights on, and someone lying in the road. 

He stopped to see if he could help. He saw the Prius driver outside the car, and the victim, who appeared to be 13-15 years old, lying on the ground bleeding profusely from a head injury. 

"I tried to help him, holding his arm and saying, 'You're going to be OK,'" said Winkelstein. "He seemed to be fading more than coming around." 

The victim was breathing but did not respond to questions, said Winkelstein.

"He was kind of all twisted up, lying there in a heap," he said. The Prius had extensive damage to the windshield. "It was crunched in, and cracked all over."

Winkelstein said the intersection is "quite dark." A number of neighbors came out to help. One brought out a blanket, he added. Police arrived "very quickly." 

Rescue workers cut off the victim's shirt, and rolled him onto a stretcher before taking him away for medical care. 

"I really hope he made it," said Winkelstein. "My guess is that it could have gone either way. There was a lot of blood and he was in bad shape."

Berkeley Fire Department, Station 4, also responded to the accident. 

According to the Fire Department, the victim's injuries were "pretty significant"; he was taken to Highland Hospital in one of Berkeley's paramedic ambulances. 

(A nursing supervisor could not be reached at Highland Hospital; Patch has requested information from the hospital spokeswoman.)

Winkelstein said he overheard the Prius driver say something to the effect of "He came out of nowhere," about the skateboarder. The driver appeared to be in his 50s and was well-dressed. He was trying to call 911 as Winkelstein pulled up.

Albany Police said they responded to the scene to help with traffic control, but were otherwise not involved, as the incident took place in Berkeley.

Francois Nguyen, who lives nearby, said, in an email to Albany Patch, that the area can be "rather dangerous" to walk in at night. 

"We make sure we have a flashlight to make sure cars slow down," he said. "My advice: Carry a flash light, wear light colors, wave and make eye contact with the drivers."

Albany Patch has requested more information from the Berkeley Police Department, and we will update this story as more details become available. 

Know or see anything? Please let us know in the comments. 

If there's something in this article you think , or if something else is amiss, call editor Emilie Raguso at 510-459-8325 or email at albany@patch.com.  

Ira Sharenow February 07, 2012 at 07:08 PM
6.32.095 Skate parks A. All persons using skate parks within the City of Berkeley shall comply with the following requirements: 1. Only persons using skateboards and skates, including but not limited to roller skates, in-line skates and/or roller blades, shall be allowed within any skate park. Persons without skateboards or skates are not allowed within skate parks. 2. Persons using bicycles or scooters are not allowed within any skate park. 3. All persons using skate parks shall wear a helmet, elbow pads and kneepads, suitable to provide protection in the event of falls or collisions. Such safety equipment must be worn at all times. H. For purposes of this ordinance, a skate park is a public recreational facility that is designed and built specifically to provide skating opportunities to persons using either a skateboard or skates. A skateboard is a flat platform, two to three feet in length, with no handholds, attached to four wheels for riding on while standing or crouching. Skates are defined as a boot or shoe having wheels either attached in-line at the center of the boot or having two wheels attached at the toe and two wheels attached at the heel. I. Any person who violates this section shall, in addition to any other criminal or civil penalties provided by this Code, be subject to removal from all skate parks operated by the City of Berkeley for up to twenty-four (24) hours, upon the order of any authorized employee or officer of the City.
Susan Miller February 07, 2012 at 07:16 PM
On second thought; with the restrictions on pedestrians in the street only being able to access vehicles on the drivers side, not walking in the street, etc., should skateboards be used in the street or not? It can not be "at their own risk" because we just saw one death devastate two families at the very least.
Ira Sharenow February 07, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I view skateboarding to be more like bicycling than being a pedestrian. However, state law says skateboarders are pedestrians, so local ordinances are likely to start from that point of view. As a bicyclist, I am required to have a front light. In addition I have a blinking red light. I think skateboarders should also be required to have proper lighting. I think skateboards are more difficult to control than bikes (but I have never used one) and so it does not surprise me that Albany prohibits the use of skateboards on its portion of Marin Avenue. As a bicyclist I find it difficult to deal with skateboarders and roller bladers who ride without lights in the narrow bike lane that has temporarily replaced the BART bike path.
Ira Sharenow February 08, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Now what? What is going to happen post Albany Patch discussion? There have been multiple traffic related articles and discussions on Patch, but will it have any impact on how bicycles, cars, skateboards, pedestrians, and people using other modes of transportation interact in Albany? Will Albany deal with its pothole problem? Should some city of Albany committee hold a public listening session and then suggest legislation or an education program to the council?
Emilie Raguso February 10, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Berkeley Patch and I are working on an article about safety on Marin. As far as the city's plans... I think folks are still waiting for the completion of the police report to make changes. But hopefully it's been a big wake-up call for drivers, and others on the road alike, so be more vigilant.
lubov mazur February 11, 2012 at 04:49 AM
Albany is all of us, and all of us need to get together and figure out what is needed. Please bring your concerns to Traffic and Safety on the fourth Thursday of the month and speak during Public Comment just after 7PM when the meeting starts. Let's get this on the agenda and get the discussion going.
Heather Wood February 11, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Marin avenue has NEVER been safe; upper Marin is a magnet for reckless teens (as I once was) and lower Marin has always been a cluster -- the more recent narrowing of the lanes and lack of additional stop signs/lights has only increased the danger to pedestrians and pedestrian-like means of transportation. Shame on Berkeley and Albany for doing this so randomly and without proper traffic engineering analysis.
Peggy McQuaid February 11, 2012 at 05:43 AM
After years of traffic engineering studies and modeling, the present configurarion of Marin Ave. was chosen as the safest and most effective. Berkeley was invited to join Albany's plan and extend the new configuration to the Alameda. More than sufficient public hearings were held, notifications were sent city-wide, workshops were held -- everyone was invited to the entire process. Statistics show that Marin Ave. is more safe for both motorists and pedestrians with the current design.
Heather Wood February 11, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Okay, Peggy McQuaid; care to comment on the fellow who represents both Berkeley and Albany, and how that conflict of interest may have intruded upon the safety of Marin Avenue in its redesign?
Heather Wood February 11, 2012 at 06:01 AM
That's simply not true, Peggy McQuaid. I've lived in West Berkeley (near the Westbrae neighborhood) for many years, and as a very active member of my community, NO ONE asked me about the redesign of Marin Avenue -- I might also mention that I grew up on the North side of Solano ave and crossed Marin Avenue daily; no one was KILLED by a car making a legal turn back then... you want to comment on THAT?
Brian Parsley February 11, 2012 at 06:41 AM
If you are speaking about our Mayor, Farid Javandel, there is no conflict interest. The Marin reconfiguration was voted on by the Albany City Council prior to Mayor Javandel taking his seat on the council and prior to his employment as Berkeley’s transportation division manager.
Ira Sharenow February 11, 2012 at 07:25 AM
A few background documents. Searches find a huge number of documents http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/2006citycouncil/packet/102406/2006-10-24%20Item%2037%20Marin%20Avenue%20Reconfiguration.pdf http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/2004citycouncil/packet/121404/2004-12-14%20Item%2031.pdf http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/2002citycouncil/packet/092402/2002-09-24%20Item%2030.pdf http://www.albanystrollroll.org/Home/work/marin-street-traffic-calming Marin Avenue Traffic Calming Measures and Bicycle Lane Albany Strollers & Rollers was heavily involved in getting the reconfiguration of Marin Avenue to include bicycle lanes on each side of the street to calm speeding traffic along the street. For cyclists, the consensus is that the project has been a great success. http://berkeley.patch.com/articles/traffic-nightmares-marin-avenue-at-colusa-avenue Traffic Nightmares: Marin Avenue at Colusa Avenue "Traffic Nightmares" is a series based on readers' feedback about the worst spots to drive and park in Berkeley. September 1, 2011 http://www.cp.berkeley.edu/LRDP/2020DEIR/4.12_Transportation.pdf It should also be noted the Marin Avenue / San Pablo Avenue intersection would continue to operate at unacceptable conditions (search under Marin for more details) http://www.dailycal.org/2012/01/19/woman-collects-170000-from-city-after-hit-by-a-berkeley-police-car/
Ira Sharenow February 11, 2012 at 07:26 AM
http://answerpot.com/showthread.php?1250597-Marin+Avenue%2FSanta+Fe+Avenue+intersection+in+Albany+-+improvements+considered+at+Albany+Traffic+and+Safety+Commission+meeting+tonight http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=48386 http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/citycouncil/2005citycouncil/packet/011805/2005-01-18%20PH%20Marin%20Config%20Supplement%202.pdf possible Google searches traffic California "Marin Avenue" Berkeley OR Albany site:http://www.albanyca.org/
Brian Parsley February 11, 2012 at 07:36 AM
ACTION MINUTES TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION - REGULAR MEETING October 21, 2004 B. DISCUSSION/ACTION ITEMS 1. Public Hearing: Marin Avenue Reconfiguration* Public Comment: a. Julian Foley b. Raymond Chamberlin c. Gary Amado d. Daryl Preston e. Syd Temple f. Lou Signer g. Cathy Baker h. Glen Kitzenberger i. Dominic Montagu j. Aaron Priven k. Donna Cummings l. Preston Jordan m. Valerie Cheasty n. Lubov Mazur, Albany Traffic Safety Commission o. Charles Smith p. John Mengel q. Kirk Frye r. Maria Watt After discussion of the public’s comments and the staff recommendation, the Commission took the following actions: It was MSC (Campbell/Lydon, Unanimous) to close the Public Hearing. It was MSC (Campbell/Lydon, Unanimous) to adopt the staff recommendation and recommend Council adopt the Negative Declaration and proceed with the Marin Reconfiguration Project. Tuesday January 18, 2005 Marin Avenue Reconfiguration Public Hearing at 7 p.m. at Berkeley City Council Chambers, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. 981-7062. Tuesday December 14, 2004 The City Council tonight (Tuesday) is scheduled to decide whether to shrink North Berkeley’ major east-west thoroughfare in half for motorists. Under a plan devised by Albany and Berkeley officials, Marin Avenue would be reduced from four lanes of traffic to two lanes, with bicycle lanes on each side of the street and a center turning lane.
Brian Parsley February 11, 2012 at 07:49 AM
These were all public meetings in Berkeley. I addition it was on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council meetings on 11/9/2004, 12/14/2004, 1/18/2005, and 3/15/2005. Seems like sufficient public meetings to me. Stating that "no one was KILLED by a car making a legal turn back then" is a little like stating no one was ever killed by a car on Marin on the fourth Thursday of the month, in a leap year, during a solar eclipse.
Ira Sharenow February 11, 2012 at 08:39 AM
It appears as though Albany has taken the Marin safety issue seriously. The staff report by Aleida Andrino-Chavez, Randy Leptien, and Jeff Bond, Director for December 11, 2011 has a very nice summary.
Joy Kekki February 11, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Finger-pointing never solved a problem. Showing up at city council meetings is better. Presenting good arguments with feasible alternatives based on research and accompanied by supporters is best. A couple of Albany mayors and many city council members will remember me as one of a majority of our neighbors attending meetings for a desperately needed speed hump. It took a while to accomplish, but we now have a speed hump. I think the key to resolving our traffic problems is to find a mutually agreeable solution and using teamwork to ensure that it comes about. Just saying...
Thilde Weems February 12, 2012 at 09:06 AM
What about installing those lights in the road that light up when a ped enters the crosswalk at key spots on Marin and solano ave. I think peds and cars need to have an agreed upon system. There are plenty of issues with this on both sides, the law seems to be moot in many cases. It's hard to cross the street on foot and it's hard to navigate on these roads, also. The skateboarders are going at an insane speed and don't seem to care. We need some guidance and enforcement. More lighting and education for all. I live at peralta and solano and it feels like market street on most days.
Emilie Raguso February 12, 2012 at 09:42 AM
I spoke with Albany's community development director who said that one unintended consequence of the lit-up crosswalks is that sometimes they embolden pedestrians to walk out without confirming that drivers see them. I keep thinking back on this video someone shared in the past year (Lubov?) about a European town where they removed all the lights and signage at this very busy traffic circle -- and everyone was forced just to figure out how to proceed using common sense and communication. According to the video, it worked out well and became much safer. I'm not saying that's the right solution here but the video still sticks with me. I wish I could find the link. I think it may be posted on Patch but haven't searched yet.
Brad S. February 12, 2012 at 01:42 PM
First, my sympathies go out to both families and all those impacted by this terrible accident. I've read many of the posts on The Patch and know how many people are deeply saddened. I believe that only three things would have changed the outcome of this situation. The are: 1. Change Berkeley's code to match Albany's code and prohibit skateboarding on Marin. 2. Add more lighting. Although a skateboarder "facing on coming traffic" (as per the Berkeley code) is in the best position to be seen by a car making a right turn, that same skateboarder is in the worst position to be seen by a driver, at night, making a left turn. 3. Require skateboarders to have more personal lighting and reflective clothing at night. But most importantly, regardless of any changes forthcoming on Marin, all users of any road should adopt one basic assumption: Pedestrians (lowest in the order), Skateboarders, Bicyclists, and Drivers (in that order) should assume that no one else sharing the road (equal or higher in the order) has seen them until they have some sort of confirmation that this is the case - and act accordingly. And where people feel that the order should be reversed, they are asking for trouble because we cannot change the laws of physics: Remember that the bigger, faster moving, object wins in a collision.
dave blake February 13, 2012 at 03:50 PM
@Peggy McQuaid: Forgive my suspiciousness, but in my experience people who say "statistics show" generally mean "it seems like common sense to me." Please share with us the statistics you're talking about. Any of them will do. As for the Albany Rollers and Strollers-page comment linked below by Ira Sharenow that "For cyclists, the consensus is that the project has been a great success", it is not only unsupported, but undated (and may date to before the project was completed). I'd sure like to talk to some of those consensus-forming bicyclists. Anyone know any? The 'consensus' opinion among the half-dozen bicyclists (myself included) I've talked to, both before and after installation, is that the Marin lanes in Berkeley transverse hilly sections that don't connect to anywhere useful, and that even local riders avoid them because Marin drivers have yet to adjust to the narrowing and impatiently use the bike lanes to pass on the right. I have yet to see a single bicycle rider in a Berkeley section of the Marin bike lanes, and, as I posted elsewhere in a related article here, I eagerly await the long-ago-promised release of the usage statistics for bicycles and automobiles along Marin since the narrowing, which appears to be nearing 5 years of age. The narrowing was a drastic alteration to traffic flow in Berkeley, with effect on streets as far away as University; the jury has never come in on whether or not its benefits extend any further than to Marin property owners.
JW February 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
I am a bicyclist, I regularly have ridden up Marin from near San Pablo and Marin for many years, both before and after the traffic calming. For me, Marin connects West Albany to Los Angeles Street, Tilden Park, and to Colusa for Berkeley shopping. The traffic calming and bike lanes have made the experience much more pleasant. I believe it is safer. In the pre-reconfiguration days, cars would pass just inches from the end of my handlebars, leaving no room in case a parked car door opened. Drivers often expressed irritation at the presence of cyclists. The other east west streets have other issues such as more congestion (Hopkins), more erratic traffic (Solano), more stop signs (Dartmouth), or a longer path. One can still experience the difficulty of cycling on a 4 lane Marin by riding west of Cornell street.
dave blake February 13, 2012 at 07:49 PM
@JW: Nice to hear from someone who actually uses the new bikelanes. I personally don't go to Tilden via Marin, but via Cedar, then that little street btw Spruce and Euclid that wends up to Euclid (Might be Hawthorne Terrace), then Euclid the rest of the way. But if you can bike up Marin past the circle, I salute you! I also find the grade on Solano much more even than Marin, but then I am heading toward the tunnel.
ralph February 14, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Here are some links about Shared Space. Hans Monderman talks about how it came about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2amDl1Hkl0w http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6S2GXLsSh4 Shared Space is much more than just removing traffic controls. The Netherlands has more of a bike, pedestrian, public transit culture than we do. http://www.holland.com/us/Tourism/Transport/Getting-around-in-Holland.htm Residential areas typically have a 30kph (19mph) speed limit. Electronic speed enforcement is strict. http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_982.html California has weak speed enforcement compared to other places http://autos.aol.com/article/highest-speeding-fines/
lubov mazur February 14, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Part 4 For those readers interested in human behavior, traffic planning, and new ideas I suggest watching the videos and reading the articles linked here, and sending your responses to the Traffic and Safety Commission as well as posting on Patch. Albany could lead the way in the Bay Area to improved shared space by implementing a new philosophy about how drivers are informed
lubov mazur February 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Part 3 Monderman has posted ten short interviews about changes in traffic planning on Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xo3KWHqmDhA where he explains many of the theories and practices of Shared Space and traffic management. A short biographical essay about him can be found at: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.12/traffic.html?pg=1&topic=traffic&topic_set= An additional bit of informative reading is titled, Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, an article posted on the Strong Towns Blog. Traffic engineer Charles Marohn comes to the realization that his ideas about what is good for traffic planning is in direct contradiction of the ideas of residents about what makes good communities. http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2010/11/22/confessions-of-a-recovering-engineer.html?goback=.gde_95125_member_36189844
lubov mazur February 14, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Part 2 Portishead in England had very complex road patterns and many control lights at complicated intersections with traffic congestion that made a transit of the town take fifteen monutes. On a well posted, designated day the lights were covered for two days. The traffic then moved smoothly through the traffic patterns without incident and the transit time was reduced to five minutes. Pedestrians and cyclists were more safe because motorists were more observant, made eye contact, and had a sense of shared space instead of the entitlement they felt they had before, when lights and signs told them how to behave instead of the conditions at hand. The online video with interviews of the townspeople is very encouraging: http://www.wimp.com/trafficlights/
lubov mazur February 14, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Part 1 Emilie Here is a post from a previous article, or maybe an email. There is an idea going around about how to make streets and the towns they run through safer and more reasonable. It does not have anything to do with more signage, humps, or limits. It does have everything to do with drivers who make eye contact and think about what their external environment is because they are not being subjected to orders from signs and signals. It is being implemented by engineers like Hans Monderman, who has successfully modified traffic controls in medieval villages to newly designed communities. Ten years ago the people of Oudehaske in Friesland removed the traffic control measures that were cluttering their village. Accident rates were reduced and the speeds dropped by more than half. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6S2GXLsSh4
Benton April 14, 2012 at 07:09 AM
What I'd like to see in the follow-up stories about this tragic accident is how far the Prius's headlamps projected? Only asking because when I was driving a day or so later after Tyler's death along some darkened back roads in CoCo County, I noticed how much of the road in front of me lit up. My vehicle is more than 10 years old and I could not tell if the headlights were brightening the road to a distance of 160 feet or so, which is the distance the headlamps are supposed to project illumination at low beam. So were the Prius headlamps projecting light up to 160 feet that night that Tyler was killed? If they were, how is it the driver was not able to detect Tyler's oncoming presence at all? And did the driver activate his turn signal before making his turn in front of Tyler?
emr April 21, 2012 at 07:51 AM
I spoke with Tyler's mom this week and she told me she had the opportunity to meet with the driver in the crash, and wanted everyone to know what a good man he is.

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