Multiple-Vehicle Accident Hits Solano Avenue

BMW Collides With at Least Three Vehicles on Sunday, Berkeley Man Arrested on the Scene

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A black BMW collided with multiple vehicles while driving west down Solano Avenue near the boundary between the Berkeley and Albany city limits Feb. 20, resulting in at least one totaled vehicle and multiple injuries.

According to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police Department, at least three vehicles were involved in collisions with a black BMW 330ci as it drove west on Solano late Sunday morning. Following a 911 call placed by a community member at 11:43 a.m., members of both the Berkeley and Albany police departments responded the incident.

Berkeley resident Shahram Farshchi was arrested at the scene by Berkeley police and booked on a charge of misdemeanor non-injury hit-and-run in connection with the collisions on the Berkeley side of Solano.

Some witnesses to the scene have placed the number of affected vehicles as high as seven. Kusmiss said none of the injuries resulting from the collisions currently appear life-threatening, though she was unable to confirm the nature or number of the injuries.

Berkeley resident Susan McLester was driving west down Solano near the 7-Eleven located at 1540 Solano Ave. when her blue Audi was hit from behind by the BMW on the Albany side of the avenue. The collision sent her car spinning, totaling the vehicle and slamming her head onto the steering wheel, she said.

According to Kusmiss, a Walnut Creek woman said a BMW of the same description hit her gray Lexus as she approached Ensenada Avenue while heading west on Solano, pushing her car into the intersection of the two streets. Kusmiss said the woman was traveling 15 to 20 mph with her 8-year-old grandson in the right rear seat. Though the woman reported no injuries, Kusmiss said the vehicle sustained moderate damage to its rear end.

The woman also said the BMW did not stop before continuing further west down Solano, Kusmiss said.

Solano is split between the Berkeley and Albany city limits, so the jurisdiction for the collisions is also divided between the two police departments.

According to Investigation Lt. Daniel Adams at the Albany department, Albany police have not requested any criminal charges be brought against Farshchi. Kusmiss said Farshchi exited the BMW but remained on the scene after the collisions on the Albany side of the avenue.

Cecily Rodriguez, receptionist at Joi Nail Spa on Solano and witness to the collisions, said the BMW's speed far exceeded the avenue's 25 mph speed limit.

"If you could blink you couldn't even see it," Rodriguez said. "I don't think anyone even saw until they saw the cars piled up."

Because many of the details surrounding the collisions are still unclear, Berkeley police have requested that Solano merchants analyze their surveillance video from Feb. 20 during the collision for any pertinent footage.

"There is an air of mystery (as) to what precipitated this (incident)," Kusmiss said.

As of press time, police had not obtained any footage from merchants.

"Most of the cameras aren't focused on the street," said Allen Cain, executive director of the Solano Avenue Association. "Merchants are more interested that they catch the guy at the register with the gun."

Farshchi said he sought medical tests after the incident but would not comment further. A court date for his misdemeanor charge is set for March 23, Kusmiss said.


Contact Sarah Burns at [email protected]

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