Young Girl in Critical Condition After Police Car Collides With Her

Anybody with information about this accident can contact the Oakland CHP office at 450-3821.

Nate Tabak covers crime. E-mail him at [email protected].

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A young girl was critically injured when an on-duty Berkeley police officer crashed his car into the bike she was riding in Central Berkeley Saturday afternoon.

The girl was on life support and listed in critical but stable condition at Children's Hospital in Oakland late yesterday, a nursing supervisor said.

The accident happened shortly before 2 p.m. when a 7-year-old girl rode her bike onto the street as Lt. Eric Gustafson drove northbound on the 2100 block of Roosevelt Avenue, the California Highway Patrol said.

Witnesses said the car screeched to a halt but still hit the girl, leaving her behind the car. Her bike was crushed under the car's front end.

Details about the girl's injuries were not available, but the CHP has deemed the incident a "major injury accident."

The girl, whose name was not released, was rushed to Children's Hospital by Berkeley fire paramedics.

It is not known if the girl, who residents said lives near the site of the accident, was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident.

Nearby resident Kevin Donegan said the girl's legs were bloodied and there was some trauma to her head, though she was lucid.

"She was scared, in shock," Donegan said. "She was definitely alive."

The CHP is investigating the incident, but preliminary findings indicate that negligence was not a factor.

"It doesn't appear to be (Gustafson's) fault," said CHP Sgt. L.D. White.

White said the girl's sudden appearance on the street did not give Gustafson, a patrol watch commander, enough time to stop his car in time to avoid her.

The CHP had not determined Saturday how fast the police car was traveling in the residential area at the time of impact. Witnesses said the car was moving at a rate near the area's 25-mph speed limit.

The CHP investigates most serious car accidents that involve on-duty Berkeley police officers.

The crash investigation is expected to be completed late this week or early next week.


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