Image: Google Maps
Image: Google Maps

A man wanted for weapons violations and kidnapping was arrested in Berkeley on Saturday night after crashing into several vehicles on the highway and sending two people to the hospital.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the agency received a call shortly before 7 p.m. about a “reckless driver in a small red vehicle” on Interstate 80 near Gilman Street in Berkeley. 

Minutes later, dispatchers began receiving calls that the same vehicle, a 1994 Mazda, was involved in a traffic collision involving four other vehicles. Two people were taken by ambulance to the hospital, including one with major injuries, according to a notice released by the CHP on Nixle just before 10:50 p.m.

According to Berkeley radio scanner traffic, the accident took place just north of Gilman Street on eastbound Interstate 80. Berkeley paramedics were dispatched to the scene.

According to Officer Sean Wilkenfeld, spokesman for the Oakland-area CHP, the Mazda’s driver, 50-year-old Robert Blackwell of Oakland, tried to flee the scene on foot “and jumped off of the elevated portion” of the freeway.

An off-duty Concord Police officer, who saw the driver flee, “was able to stop Blackwell after he landed on the city streets below.”

Blackwell was arrested by CHP officers on suspicion of felony hit and run, felony DUI causing injury, as well as driving without a license. The exact location of his arrest was not immediately available. [Update, June 15: Wilkenfeld said Blackwell was arrested beneath the overpass near the Berkeley-Albany border. The exact location was not available. According to unconfirmed scanner traffic, Berkeley paramedics were dispatched to Buchanan Street under the freeway shortly after 7 p.m. for a man who had jumped from the overpass.]

Blackwell also had two warrants for his arrest, one for weapons violations and the second for kidnapping.

He sustained major injuries as a result of the incident and was taken by ambulance to a local hospital, according to the CHP.

Learn more about Nixle, and how to sign up here. Berkeleyside will update this story if more information becomes available.

Authorities seek man after Berkeley police chase (05.08.14)
Breaking: CHP chase from Oakland ends in South Berkeley (01.31.14)

[Correction: The driver in this case was described by authorities as a felon due to the felony warrants for his arrest. But, according to the CHP, he has not been convicted of a felony. The story has been corrected to reflect this.]

Get the latest Berkeley news in your inbox with Berkeleyside’s free Daily Briefing. And make sure to bookmark Berkeleyside’s pages on Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need an account on those sites to view important information.

Avatar photo

Emilie Raguso (former senior editor, news) joined Berkeleyside in 2012 and covered politics, public safety and development until her departure in 2022. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...