A city of Berkeley employee’s failure to yield to a pedestrian was the primary cause of a crash that killed a 70-year-old woman in Berkeley earlier this month, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said today.
Shelley Rideout was struck by a city employee who was driving a sedan while she was in a crosswalk at Channing Way and Fulton Street near the University of California at Berkeley campus at 1:21 p.m. on Jan. 12 and was pronounced dead about 10 minutes later, authorities said.
CHP Officer Matthew Hamer said witnesses told investigators that the vehicle was going at about 15 mph.
Hamer said the driver cooperated with investigators and neither drugs nor alcohol played a part in the collision.
Hamer said that although investigators determined that the collision was caused by the driver’s failure to yield, the CHP isn’t pursuing criminal charges in the case because there’s no evidence the driver had a criminal intent or was driving recklessly.
However, Rideout’s family could still pursue a civil lawsuit against the driver, he said.
Hamer said the CHP isn’t releasing the driver’s name but he understands that the city of Berkeley will be doing so.
However, a city of Berkeley spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request to release the city employee’s name.
Hamer said the CHP investigated the fatal crash because it handles all collisions that involve a vehicle owned by a municipality or other jurisdiction.
Rideout was a volunteer at the Berkeley Historical Society, according to a Facebook post by the group.
In its post the group said:
“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the accidental death (on Jan. 12) of Shelley Rideout, the longtime and invaluable Berkeley Historical Society volunteer who coordinated the current exhibit, ‘Soundtrack to the 60s.'”
Rideout also was a past president of the western chapter of the Costume Society of America, a national group that advances the global understanding of all aspects of dress and appearance.
The Costume Society of America wrote in a post:
“Shelley was an advocate for CSA and an active member and leader. Her strong and quiet guidance helped to grow and strengthen our organization during her term as president of the Western Region.”
The CSA said Rideout “was interested in history from childhood, especially in costume history and design,” and studied theater arts at Sonoma State University, where she participated in the founding of the Women’s Studies Program and helped to teach a course on Women in History.
The group said “her CSA friends and colleagues will miss her.”