A man died early Sunday morning in South Berkeley when his motorcycle crashed on Adeline Street, authorities report.
Police closed Adeline from Stanford Avenue north to Alcatraz Avenue so BPD’s Fatal Accident Investigation Team could determine what had happened.
BPD said the man had been heading north on Adeline when the crash took place just before 12:05 a.m. No other vehicles were involved, based on the preliminary BPD assessment, and it was unclear what may have caused the crash.
Officers performed CPR on the rider until firefighters arrived to take over life-saving efforts, but they were unsuccessful. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
Reggie, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, went to the crash scene and realized with dismay that he recognized the motorcycle, a blue Harley-Davidson, that had crashed. It had belonged to a friend of his.
The bike had come to rest in the grassy median on Adeline Street. Nearby, the rider’s body was draped in a white sheet. Police also put up black privacy barriers to limit visibility.
After confirming that it had been his friend who had died, Reggie rushed to the man’s home, just blocks away on Alcatraz, and was able to call the man’s mother to tell her what had happened.
He said he and the man who was killed had grown up together in Berkeley. They had known each other since childhood.
Richie Smith, 88, was also on the block as police investigated the crash. She said she had been home relaxing and watching television when sirens filled the air.
“They were really flying through,” she said. Usually, when she hears sirens in the neighborhood, they quickly recede into the distance.
But tonight they stopped: “I said, something’s going on here.”
Smith said she went outside to observe and to see if she could help. She said speeding can be a problem on Adeline, and that she’s seen fender benders before, but never a fatality.
As she and Reggie waited on the block, Reggie told her he believed the man had worked for the city of Berkeley and could often be found working up on Adeline Street cleaning up graffiti in the neighborhood.
When he described his friend to Smith, she realized she, too, had known him.
“Oh no,” she said. “Oh no. I see him every day.”
Smith walks the blocks around her home daily to pick up trash and keep the neighborhood clean.
“He supplies me with gloves,” she said. “He works for the city — but he looks out for me.”
Berkeleyside is not releasing the man’s name pending official family notification.
BPD said Adeline Street, between Stanford and Alcatraz, would be closed for the investigation until further notice.
Update, 5:25 a.m. The roadway has reopened.