Prentice Gray and his family

Richmond police said today that the two Berkeley teenagers who were killed in an automobile accident last week were driving at speeds of 100 miles per hour right before the crash.

Witnesses reported that the car “was driving erratically, weaving in and out of traffic,” said Richmond Police Sgt. Bisa French. The car got up to 100 miles a hour but had just come around a curve so it was probably going around 60 mph when the accident happened, she said. The speed limit on the Richmond Parkway is 50 mph, said French.

Kyle Strang, 16, and Prentice Gray, 19, were both killed instantly in the March 31 accident when Strang’s  black 1992 Twin Turbo Dodge Stealth went out control, crossed over a concrete divider, and smashed into  the wheels of a school bus. The bus driver was uninjured.

Funeral services will be held tomorrow for Gray, at 11 am at the Fouche Hudson funeral home at 3665 Telegraph Avenue in North Oakland. Burial will follow.

Strang was buried on Sunday.

The two youths were good friends who lived across the street from one another in Berkeley. Both had attended Berkeley High. Gray, whose nickname was PJ, had attended CPA, the Community Partnership Academy, and had graduated in 2009. At the time of his death he was volunteering for a group that provided organic vegetables to under served areas. Strang was a junior in the CAS program. (Communications, Art, and Science)

The Berkeley High Jacket, the school newspaper, is planning to commemorate the boys’ lives in its next issue and is asking for people to submit poems, writing, or pictures that relate to their deaths.  (Send to jakewinkelman40@yahoo.com) A Facebook page, RIP Kyle Strang and Prentice Gray, now has 919 members.

Strang’s father, Craig, the associate director of Lawrence Hall of Science, spoke at the funeral about his son’s love for that car. A friend posted the memorial on a new blog dedicated to Strang. Here is an excerpt:

“Many of you know the story of how we got to this moment. Kyle saved up his own money and fulfilled his dream by buying himself a black 1992 Twin Turbo Dodge Stealth when he turned 16. He bought it the day after Thanksgiving, and wanted PJ to be the first person to ride in it. When we got home, Kyle told me that that day was the best day of his life. He had a couple of fender bender accidents, and he and I spent the last two weekends together rummaging through junkyards, searching for replacement parts. Last Saturday, Kyle brought his good luck charm—Hannah—along on what was, she assured me, her first trip to a junkyard. We had a blast, got covered in grease together and ate terrible burritos together from the taco truck. And we found the fender we needed. On Wednesday, Kyle and PJ were headed to a body shop in Richmond to get an estimate for installing the parts, and Kyle somehow lost control of that black 1992 Twin Turbo Dodge Stealth.”

Kyle Strang

The Strang family asks that donations be made to Berkeley High’s CAS program. Checks can be mailed to Berkeley High School Development Group, Kyle Harty Strang Memorial Fund, and sent to Strang Memorial Fund, 828 Ashbury Street, SF 94117.

For the Gray family, contributions and flowers can be delivered to the funeral home and marked to the attention of Irma Gray.

Frances Dinkelspiel

Frances Dinkelspiel (co-founder) is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California,...

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1 Comment

  1. Very sad and very troubling.

    Last week a young man driving recklessly back B-Tech alternative program after lunch cut me off as I was making a left turn onto MLKway. The kid was speeding ran a red light, and drove recklessly on the wrong side of both MLK and Derby racing into a parking space in front of the school.

    As a neighborhood leader I have had relations with B-Tech staff over the last three administrations because B-Tech students are often truant or engaged in drug sales/ use in our neighborhood so I know the current principal Victor Diaz. Diaz has attended our community meetings in an effort to coordinate better supervision of his students. It is not uncommon for me to contact the school safety officer or principal. Just this month I reported drug dealers posted up outside the school.

    This time was quite different, and rather than rather than receive a simple “Thank you for letting us know” , I was ganged up on by an abusive and defensive Diaz and his cadre of school supervision staff. It was so outrageous I contacted district supervisors. District staff encouraged me to write a complaint specifically identifying B-Tech as a hostile environment. Apparently I am hardly alone in experiencing this type of mistreatment from Diaz. It was explained to me that students in need of an alternative placement often do not feel safe at B-Tech because of the climate/culture created by Diaz’ administrative approach.

    When my son attended the adjacent Independent Studies program this complaint about B-Tech standards was widely expressed. It is very discouraging to know that the climate is persistently hostile and the staff has chosen a defensive posture to protect their administrative failures and students from accountability.

    None of the adults seem concerned about the reckless dangerous driving by a student during school hours.

    Like I said at the outset, troubling and very sad.