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Collins Collision Conclusion Expected mid-December

Action Alameda News compiled this table based on data provided by Alameda police chief Paul Rolleri.

Action Alameda News compiled this table based on data provided by Alameda police chief Paul Rolleri.

Alameda police traffic collision investigators expect to have a final report on the September death of bluesman Augusta Collins by mid-December, the police chief says.

Collins, an African-American man, was hit and killed by a vehicle on September 7th at the intersection of Constitution Way and Marina Village Parkway; family members have picketed the collision scene, demanding answers, and have suggested the delay in producing a final report is due to attempts to protect the driver and is rooted in racism.

It’s an accusation that Alameda police chief Paul Rolleri denies.

Rolleri provided Action Alameda News with the data in the table that accompanies this article, detailing the most recent fatal collisions in Alameda, and the timelines of their investigations. He says the timeline for investigating the Collins case is on par with the timelines for previous incidents, including the death of Sam Sause, who was struck and killed by an AC Transit bus, driven by an African-American driver, at the intersection of Otis Drive and Grand Street in December of last year.

The chief said that his investigators, who have received Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team (MAIT) training are double-checking their math based on measurements collected in the investigation, and are having an arms-length outside party review the data as well.

Rolleri also took pains to correct contradictory information reported by Action Alameda News previously – he had said then that nobody from Collins’ family had requested reports from the police department’s record section while a family member said Collins’ wife had gone to the police station but hadn’t been able to get any information.

“One of my traffic investigators met family members in the lobby of the police station on September 14th,” Rolleri said. “At that time, he provided a copy of the face sheet for the preliminary report. That would have the name of the other party, but that information may have been redacted, I didn’t see it. That exchange was ‘off-the-grid’ and didn’t run through our records section, so when I researched this last month, they didn’t have anything.”

Traffic investigators have been in contact with the family since, he said.

Action Alameda News published a story reporting the family’s concerns on October 11th, which included Rolleri’s recommendation that the family request a copy of the preliminary collision report from the records section.

Collins’ family subsequently told Action Alameda News that as of close of business on Monday, October 12th, the family had a copy of that report.

The preliminary coroner’s report was complete as of October 27th, and the final coroner’s report is pending as of Wednesday, November 18th, Rolleri said. The preliminary report says that Collins died in a vehicle collision (cause of death) and suffered multiple blunt trauma injuries (manner of death.)

Rolleri expects his department will be able to present a final collision report, with or without the coroner’s final report — “The difference is really just one signature,” he said — to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office in the first half of December. He explained that if Alameda police determine that a crime had been committed incident to the collision, that report would include a corresponding crime code.

Earleana Stewart, Collins’ niece, told Action Alameda News that if charges aren’t filed against the driver, she will”go to the media and any political person that I can reach out to as well as protest.”

“I strongly believe the driver is being protected,” she continued. “Why is this? Is he the owner [of the company vehicle that struck Collins], the owners son or related to the owner of the company? What ties does this company have in Alameda? Or better yet, what ties does this company have with the Alameda Police Department? I stand by what I’ve said before, this tragic accident is being covered up! How come this driver didn’t see someone crossing the street? I continue to say that if this was a person of color, Alameda police would have placed them in jail.”

Stewart also said that Collins’ wife, Marchelle, has been directed by the family’s attorney not to speak about the case.

10 comments to Collins Collision Conclusion Expected mid-December

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Can we get the name of the driver? Doesn’t seem right that the name hasn’t been released. And I’m unclear if Collin’s family has it. “May have been redacted?” Why doesn’t Rolleri know?

  • Rolleri doesn’t know if the driver’s name was redacted from the face sheet given to the family, because it occurred two months ago, on September 14th, and he wasn’t present when it was handed to the family, and he didn’t see it.

    Publishing the name of the driver is an interesting question – the driver hasn’t been charged with any crime so far, does he deserve to have his name in the media? (Earleana Stewart believes he does.) What if it was you? Would you want your name published?

    What purpose does it serve to publish the name of the driver at this point, with no charges filed?

  • Ananda K

    Bringing up the death of another person by an African American bus driver seems to be a distraction tactic to me. What happened to cause Augusta Collins to loose his life and who is responsible? Very simple questions from his family.

  • Earleana Stewart has repeatedly asserted that if the driver was African-American, he would be in jail. She asserts that Alameda authorities would treat an African-American driver differently.

    Alameda PD deny that. The Chief went through the past 5 incidents, and provided race of victim and driver. Chief Rolleri points out that the Collins timeline is on par with timelines for other cases.

    The column that is missing from the table is whether the drivers were charged. I’m certain in both the Sam Sause and Carol Weston cases, the drivers were not charged.

  • Sanalli

    Our community is still grieving the loss of our dear friend Augusta Collins. The uneasy feeling that accompanies the grief is that there are no answers as to why this man who had overcome and accomplished so much in his life had to die in such a manner. Although the Alameda Police Department seems to be taking action based on its timeline, there’s a community that needs answers to its questions. I don’t believe that any of us would be okay with not knowing the name of the person who ultimately caused the death of a loved one. I imagine that it would bring a sense of collaboration to the investigation. Who and why should be answered without hesitation. The fact that this man died alone in the street in the middle of a bright sunny day while conducting a simple act of crossing at an intersection is troubling. Providing the accurate answers to the family and community goes a long way in restoring faith in our public servants and closure that will allow us all to turn the page of the concieved deception. Augusta Lee Collins was a true gentleman. Imagine all of those that loved him waiting at the venue for his performance that evening and weekend. Our hearts still ache. He is more than just another casualty. He was our friend.

  • Who Killed this wonderful man . A simple question , Mid Day Labor day was a long time ago friends and Family should know a name and why this tragedy happened ?

  • The Alameda police chief called me this afternoon to confirm that Collins’ wife would have had the name of the driver by way of the face sheet, on September 14th, which did not redact the name, and by way of the prelim collision report on October 11th, which included the name, un-redacted.

    It may be the case that not everybody in Collins’ family has access to all the same documents.

  • Wendy

    It breaks my heart that we cannot get a straight answer regarding who hit Uncle Augusta. I thought if you hit someone and killed them you would be arrested. Even if it was an accident that’s manslaughter. So why isn’t anything being done by the police?
    It does seem suspicious. I don’t want to jump to the racism conclusion however, the silence of the authorities seems to indicate someone is getting preferential treatment. We need honest answers!

  • AJ

    Ok, it’s mid-December now. Who killed Augusta? Where is the report?

  • Chief Rolleri told me this week it was referred to the D.A. on the 14th.

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