The Oakland man identified by authorities as the driver who ran over and killed a woman on the sidewalk while evading police earlier this month was charged Friday with murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and three other felonies in Alameda County Superior Court.
The death of the 58-year-old homeless woman is Berkeley PD’s first homicide in more than two years. Court papers identify the woman as Bernadette Youngbear. The coroner’s office has not released her name because they have not been able to notify her next of kin, but police said Friday that they hope its publication will help find Youngbear’s relatives because she has no advocate and her body remains unclaimed.
“We need to find a family member,” Officer Byron White, BPD spokesman, said Friday afternoon.
The Alameda County district attorney’s office has also charged Alexander McGee, 29, with causing death while evading a police officer, leaving the scene of a fatal collision and domestic violence.
According to court papers, a University of California police officer saw the man later identified as McGee on Jan. 20 in the driver’s seat of a gray sedan at Sixth Street and University Avenue at about 10:30 a.m. There was a young woman in his car. Police said the officer saw the man “punch the female passenger in the head several times.” The woman was screaming “no” and “stop,” police said.
The UCPD officer tried to stop McGee, according to court papers, whose vehicle was facing north on Sixth. But McGee made a U-turn and crossed University Avenue southbound as the officer turned on his emergency lights to follow him, according to court documents. After driving one block, McGee turned around and ultimately made a left onto the sidewalk on the north side of University Avenue, according to police.
Authorities say he then ran into Youngbear, who had been in the same place the prior day, prompting welfare checks from police and attempts to help her from others in the area.
McGee “drove over the woman and dragged her,” according to police, then continued onto the University Avenue overpass and got onto the freeway. The UCPD officer ended the chase, police wrote, and returned to the collision scene where the woman was pronounced dead “having sustained multiple traumatic injuries.”
Police could not immediately find McGee but, on Jan. 24, they did find the 19-year-old woman who had been in the car with him, according to court papers. She identified McGee as her boyfriend and said he had “punched her in the face and head multiple times and pulled braids out of her head,” according to court papers.
“She screamed for help and tried to get away but McGee grabbed her and would not let her out of the car,” police wrote. “She said McGee fled after seeing the police officer pull behind the car.”
When police found the woman, “she had visible injuries” including “a cut on her eye and a bald spot where her hair was ripped out,” police wrote. “She reported that McGee threatened to kill her after the fatal hit-and-run collision, told her not to talk to the police and believes McGee may kill her.”
The same day BPD found the woman, who police say may be a victim of human trafficking, detectives also located the 2011 gray Nissan Maxima they believe McGee was driving the day of the collision. The found the car in Oakland, according to court papers. Police said they recovered hair and suspected blood underneath the Nissan.
The Berkeley Police Department arrested McGee in West Oakland shortly before midnight Wednesday.
McGee remains in custody at Santa Rita Jail. His next court appearance was not listed as of publication time.