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.