Police cruiser in Berkeley (file photo). Photo: seb grandjean

A speeding driver caused a crash in Berkeley that sent five people in four different vehicles to the hospital early Sunday morning, authorities report.

Lt. Peter Hong of the Berkeley Police Department said it all started with a car traveling westbound on University Avenue at a “high rate of speed” around 12:45 a.m.

That car, a convertible, rear-ended a vehicle that had stopped at a red light at University and Acton Street, Hong said. It then ricocheted and struck the vehicle in the lane to the right, which was also waiting at the light. That vehicle then struck the one in front of it.

Hong said there were indications at the scene that the driver of the convertible was under the influence of alcohol, prompting a DUI investigation.

That driver and both of his passengers, as well as two occupants from other vehicles, were taken to the hospital with minor to moderate injuries, Hong said.

The Berkeley Fire Department described three of the patients as critical, in unconfirmed scanner traffic. One of the patients was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, while two others were taken to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley.

The driver’s name was not immediately available due to the early stage of the investigation, Hong said. An arrest in the case was expected.

A traffic signal also came down due to the crash, authorities said. Police said they would shift it to the roadside until it could be removed.

Emilie Raguso (senior editor, news) joined the Berkeleyside team in 2012. She covers politics, public safety and development. In 2017, Emilie was named Journalist...