Berkeley police investigate a fatal hit-and-run crash on University Avenue, Jan. 20, 2020. Photo: Emilie Raguso

The man police identified as the driver in a fatal hit-and-run that killed a homeless woman on a Berkeley sidewalk earlier this month is now in custody, authorities report.

The Berkeley Police Department’s Special Response Team arrested 29-year-old Alexander McGee in Oakland on Wednesday night, said Officer Byron White, department spokesman. McGee was arrested shortly before midnight. BPD released no additional information.

Berkeleyside saw that McGee was listed in online records as in custody at Berkeley Jail on Thursday morning. BPD confirmed the arrest just before publication.

On Saturday, BPD had said they were looking for McGee in connection with an incident that began Jan. 20 at about 10:30 a.m. when an officer from the University of California Police Department saw a man in a vehicle violently assaulting his female passenger who was screaming. According to UCPD, the officer “approached to intervene and the vehicle fled the area.” After a short vehicle pursuit, the driver ran over a 58-year-old woman on the sidewalk at 811 University Ave. then sped off onto the freeway.

Authorities at the Alameda County coroner’s office said Thursday that they still cannot release the name of the woman who was killed because they have been unable to find her relatives.

BPD said they considered McGee, who lives in Oakland, “armed and dangerous” due to his criminal history. In addition to the BPD case, McGee had been wanted for two felony Contra Costa County warrants from 2018 for evading police and burglary.

According to Alameda County criminal records reviewed by Berkeleyside, McGee has faced numerous felony and misdemeanor charges related to domestic violence, stalking, firearm possession, resisting arrest, burglary and drug sales dating back to 2009. He was sent to prison for at least two convictions, according to court records online, and placed on parole when he was released. His parole has been revoked repeatedly over the years due to new violations, records show.

Berkeleyside made a Public Records Act request for dashcam footage from UCPD’s pursuit of McGee. The university told Berkeleyside this week that “after a reasonable search, and to the best of our knowledge, there are no records responsive to your request.”

A witness to the chase said the UCPD officer involved in the pursuit did not use a siren. If true, that would be an apparent violation of UCPD’s vehicle pursuit policy. Berkeleyside has asked UCPD for comment but there has not been a response to date.

According to jail records online, McGee was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, hit-and-run causing death, domestic violence, burglary and evading police. All of the allegations are listed as felonies.

McGee is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled for arraignment Friday at the Wiley Manuel Courthouse in Oakland.

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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 of the Year...