Former El Cerrito Student in Grave Condition After Prius Crash on Marin

A small shrine has been set up at Tulare and Marin avenues in honor of crash victim Tyler De Martini.

The skateboarder in a car crash at Marin and Tulare avenues is in "grave" condition, authorities said Tuesday morning. 

Berkeley Police said, after their preliminary investigation, that it appeared the driver of a Prius was eastbound on Marin Avenue making a northbound turn onto Tulare when he hit a skateboarder who was westbound on Marin.

senior Gabe Scaglione identified the victim as friend 18-year-old Tyler De Martini.

He said De Martini used to attend El Cerrito High. Scaglione said, via Twitter, "He's a strong kid and has so many people praying for him."

Scaglione added that De Martini lives in Berkeley but used to attend El Cerrito High before switching to a course of independent study.

Warren Lyons, a Highland Hospital spokesman, confirmed late Tuesday that De Martini was in critical condition at the medical center.


According to Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss: "The City of Berkeley Police Department (BPD) received calls regarding a collision at Marin and Tulare at about 7:05 p.m. on Monday, January 30, 2012."

Tuesday afternoon, Kusmiss reported, via email, that the driver in the accident was a 54-year-old Berkeley man: "Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision. The skateboarder is also a Berkeley resident.”

The Berkeley Police Department will provide an update "when and if necessary. Because the skateboarder is 18, he is not required to wear a helmet when riding," said Kusmiss.

City of Berkeley Fire Department paramedics took the skateboarder to a local trauma center; he was seriously injured in the collision and, according to trauma physicians, is in "grave" condition. 

Kusmiss said, in an email news release, that, due to the seriousness of the collision, Berkeley Police Department's Fatal Accident Investigation Team was called in to take over the investigation. 

The team members, who are part of the Police Department's Traffic Bureau, investigate serious and fatal collisions and have training in techniques related to collisions, such as diagramming and reconstruction.

Kusmiss said it is too early to determine the primary collision factor, which would be assigned to either the skateboarder or the driver, and which, in most cases, attributes fault to one of the involved parties.

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates on this story, and others involving traffic safety.

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.  

Emily Henry (Editor) January 31, 2012 at 11:48 PM
The City of Berkeley has identified a number of intersections that are considered "high priority" for additional safety measures due to the number of collisions involving pedestrians (which may or may not include skateboarders) in their Pedestrian Master Plan: http://patch.com/A-n1NT Marin Avenue is not included in the list. However, Gilman and 6th is marked for improvements.
Emilie Raguso February 01, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Small update, via BPD: The driver in the accident is a 54-year-old Berkeley man: "Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision. The skateboarder is also a Berkeley resident.”
Emilie Raguso February 01, 2012 at 12:55 AM
UPDATE, 4:53 p.m.: “From the City of Berkeley Police department (BPD) Traffic Bureau, the preliminary investigation notes that the driver of the Prius was eastbound on Marin, just making a northbound turn onto Tulare. The skateboarder was westbound on Marin when the two collided.”
michael randolph February 01, 2012 at 01:19 AM
Prius cars make a smaller sound than most cars people walking and on bikes or skateboards ect can't hear them coming.
John Doh! February 01, 2012 at 02:35 AM
In the last 5 years, I'm fairly certain that there have been at letast 3 pedestrians in crosswalks killed in North Berkeley on Solano and Marin. It's so tragic that these incidents have not resulted in more enforcement of the speed limits and yield laws. Long ago, I shifted my walking route so that I only cross Marin at intersections with traffic signals. Hopefully, we'll see more traffic enforcement on these 2 streets. Even at the speed limit of 25mph, a car is a lethal weapon.
3rdgenberkeleyan February 01, 2012 at 03:05 AM
I doubt a Helmet would make a difference here...helmets are tested for impacts from falls not getting hit by a car. they are made from Styrofoam with a hard plastic shell.
3rdgenberkeleyan February 01, 2012 at 05:09 AM
plus the guy is eighteen he's an adult and can make his own decisions. the responsibility lies with the parent when they are young kids to teach them common sense.
Maryellen Sternad February 01, 2012 at 05:13 AM
Since we don't have the details of this young man's injuries, we can't be sure that wearing a helmet wouldn't have helped him. Anyone riding in Albany-Berkeley traffic without a helmet is suicidal. Risking your life by not wearing a helmet because it's not cool or denies your freedom is insane (particularly if you're 50!) The skateboard industry does nothing to encourage helmet use. All of their advertising and videos feature helmetless "experts" who always fall & get up unscathed. Not a good model for young kids. They could do wonders for our kids by designing & wearing "cool" helmets in their videos. Our local police departments should confiscate skateboards onsite if the rider is under 18 & not wearing a helmet & should issue tickets if the kid is in traffic. If you're over 18 you take your chances. It's true that once our kids leave the house we have little control over helmet use, so it is up to the police to look out for our kids' safety. If our kids (or any of us) have a normal brain, we should be thankful & do our best to protect it.
Astrid Broberg February 01, 2012 at 05:22 AM
First about the use of helmets my husband was in a really bad bicycle accident many years ago and he would not be aound if not for his helmet...secondly...3yrs ago a young boy on a sateboard collided with my 2yr old son with the result of my son braking his right arm.the doctor toldme that he sees at least 2 skateboard related accidents every week! And that,s only one doctor...sure good for business he said...sure made me thinking....third of all...the other week one of my preschoolers friends dad came down the street toward the preschool where all the kids were waiting on his skateboard without a helmt and he gave the kids rides...sure when they are teenagers it,s hard to tell them to wear helmets but we need to start being good rolemodels so maybe something sticks... I really hope the young man pulls through and can have a future
michael randolph February 01, 2012 at 08:31 AM
soccer sends more kids to the doctor if I am not mistaken. I have seen a trend of helmets looking and being better than the old hockey helmet we wore in the sixties. Pro's on the X games, dew tour all wear helmets. Would you wear one ice skating?
Astrid Broberg February 01, 2012 at 03:04 PM
I actually wear one rollerskating..since I want my kids to wear them I have to wear one as well....how do I otherwise justify making them do it and what would I tell them when they call me up on that..but obviously things can happen every where..a friends little girl fell rather unfortunate on her head on the playground and still has trouble with memory..it,s not a guarantee
Deirdre February 01, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Such a tragedy. Marin is so dark at night. I've seen drivers barely miss families crossing the street. It is difficult to protect yourself, as a pedestrian, unless you have lights to help. I've thought many times that lights (flashing) on the cross walks should be installed in Albany. Especially on San Pablo, Marin and Solano. Maybe this is in the works? In the meantime, in addition to helmets, I think it is important to remind our kids to wear white/light colored clothing and reflectors at night. And, even if their old enough to know, to remember to: LOOK both ways.
Deirdre February 01, 2012 at 03:42 PM
When are the roundabouts being built?
Vox Humana February 01, 2012 at 04:34 PM
The City of Berkeley had a free helmet program several months ago and ANYONE could get a free standard helmet for free for just showing up. It lasted several weeks, there was no requirement to stand in line, etc. We need to make it fashionable. Adults think they're immune too. As these methods of transportation increase, due to costs and impact of driving cars, everyone needs to get in the business of safety. I hope he pulls through okay, and that in his name, people can examine their own practices, as pedestrians, skaters, bicyclists and drivers, in order to keep our community safe. I'm sure the driver is suffering also. No comparison, but still.
Emilie Raguso February 01, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I don't know about you but I have been driving at a snail's pace through Albany this past week. My heart keeps stopping.... just afraid of not being aware enough.
ralph February 01, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Maybe it is time to reduce the speed limit city wide in Albany to 20 mph. Doing so would reduce the severity of pedestrian injuries when pedestrians are hit by cars. Driving slower would give folks more time to avoid colliding. Our streets are too crowded and narrow to drive 25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_30
Jim Beller February 01, 2012 at 05:47 PM
I've never seen Albany or Berkeley police making traffic stops east of San Pablo Avenue on either Marin or Solano (or on Portland where I regularly witness commuters on an alternate route to the hills ignoring the stop signs). On the other hand, San Pablo seems well patrolled and Buchanan is practically a no-fly-zone.
dgies February 01, 2012 at 05:56 PM
That would make everyone's trips take 25% longer and put us out of line with every other city. The problem is not 25mph, it's visibility and people who don't obey existing traffic laws.
ralph February 01, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Here is a quote about the advantages of reduced speed from the World Health Organization, " pedestrians have been shown to have a 90% chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than 50% chance of surviving an impact at 45 km/h." www.who.int/entity/violence_injury_prevention/publications/road_traffic/world_report/speed_en.pdf
Lisa February 01, 2012 at 06:35 PM
The helmet thing is a huge problem. Just go over to the Berkeley Skate Park. It would be an overstatement to say that 50% of the people using the park use helmets! It is a stated requirement for helmets to be used at the park. Even the skate park employees don't wear helmets. If helmet requirements aren't being enforced at a small area like the skate park, does anyone really believe that helmet laws will be enforced elsewhere? I have seen kids get pretty banged up at the skate park, when they fell and hit their heads, and even with those types of incidents, nothing changes. I wear helmets, even if the law says I don't. I need to be a role model for my kid, who has never been allowed to ride a bike, skateboard, scooter, etc without a helmet. When he is older, if I ever find out he rode without a helmet, I will confiscate his ride.
Joy Kekki February 01, 2012 at 11:43 PM
My brother and I were born and raised in Berkeley; our grandmother lived in Albany as we do now. From early childhood, my parents made it clear that we had to stop, look both ways and check again before walking into an intersection. These rules were imbedded in our brains whenever we went out, whether on foot, on a bicycle, on skates, or in a car. This self-defense technique has worked for all the children in our family. There is no mystery here and no special lighting, policing or armoring will replace it. Those who truly cannot follow this simple procedure should stay indoors.
MP February 02, 2012 at 01:19 AM
It was dark. The boy was skateboarding on a busy street, presumably without a light. Why is no one holding this boy responsible for a great part of this tragedy. The streets are for cars with lights, and bicycles with lights. Busy streets At Night are no place for skateboarders no one can possible see. I'm tired of blame for stupid acts always put on someone else.
Larry Lynch February 02, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Was the fact it was a Prius a factor in the accident? If not, why was it mentioned? If it were a Dodge Dart or a Mitsubishi Eclipse would it have been mentioned? It is certainly true that Priuses are silent in battery-only mode, but that isn't usually the case when driving in traffic on a busy street when the engine is running just like any other car. I'm just puzzled at the "skateboard vs Prius" headline...
Doug February 02, 2012 at 04:35 AM
@ Monica The car was eastbound making a left turn into oncoming westbound traffic.. If you make a left turn and get hit or hit someone I couldn't imagine it being the westbound traffics fault ?????? You'd have to yield to someone or something in the crosswalk or too westbound traffic? Everyone is in such a rush these days.. I wish people would just slow down a bit and concentrate on their driving... Too many smartphones and multitasking going on while driving..
Rick February 02, 2012 at 05:24 AM
@Doug, I agree everyone is in too much of a rush, and we don't have ANY details on what truly happened. But I imagine a situation in the dark, turning left with parked cars shielding the sidewalk, mixed with a skateboarder with no helmet increase probability of a bad situation. As a fellow gaucho I'm really sad to see Tyler go, whether it was "mostly" his "fault" or not, the outcome supersedes the need to point fingers either way, and is extremely tragic :-(.
Astrid Broberg February 02, 2012 at 05:59 AM
And there a too many cars out there..when I was a kid I didn,t even own a helmet but it was diffrent...people drove to work and home..that was that..shopping was done locally at the butchers and the bakery around the corner by foot...kids walked to school in droves....moms didn,t drive kids to school or after school activities all over the place....al that wasdone locally and we walked or biked..my mom didn,t even have drivers licence and never needed one...so the risk I feel was much smaller...there was just not as much traffic in the neigborhboods
DALE GREENE February 02, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Lights embedded in the pavement at crosswalks work well in Petaluma on busy pedestrian Petaluma Blvd. These lights, triggered by the pedestrian flash and are visible no matter how dark even rainy, the night. Cars can't miss seeing the lights in the street. I advocate for them on dark Marin Ave. where cars almost always speed. We have had tragic accidents at our street intersection with Marin, even in daylight. Our 80year old neighbor was nearly killed when hit during broad daylight. Albany is a walking town, especially for children and the elderly. Safety first please.
John Doh! February 02, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Monica, I think that many people are focusing on speeding drivers on Marin because it is such an obvious problem. This incident has simply stimulated more discussion. Tyler's family and friends are suffering, so I suppose people don't feel that it's appropriate to focus on blame. The lighted crosswalks are really helpful and I wonder why they are not a higher priority than reconfiguring bulb outs. I'd even like to see some radical actions to highlight the problem. Something like the "your speed is" signs with a police officer right behind issuing tickets. Or a sting operation ticketing drivers who don't yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk. As I was crossing Tulare on Solano last night at 7:45 I had to wait in the crosswalk as two cars drove through and a third sped up to avoid yielding.
HUTCH February 03, 2012 at 06:35 AM
All Hybids should be banned and forced to register with the CA DOJ, be deemed 'Assault Vehicles' and be limited to 10 miles a day and forced to simulate the sounds of a Muscle car through a CARB approved recorded sound system. All non registered assault vehicle owners will be guilty of a felony and sent to prison
Robhon February 04, 2012 at 12:29 AM
The type of car likely has nothing to do with the accident. The Prius was going UP the hill (eastbound) on Marin making a left turn onto Tulare. According to this article the skateboarder was coming DOWN the hill (westbound) on Marin, presumably in the bike lane. No brakes, on a skateboard, coming down the hill on a busy street, at night. Honestly, my heart goes out to the victim and I hope he pulls through but this was an accident waiting to happen.


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