A Berkeley police officer who was run over by a car driven by a fleeing suspect was taken to the hospital Tuesday but suffered no major injuries.

Berkeley police responded to a 4:38 pm call that someone had stolen a wallet from the Ecole Bilingue French School in the 1000 block of Heinz Avenue. A witness told police what the suspect looked like and, since thieves often use credit cards at ATMs and gas stations shortly after stealing them, officers began checking nearby convenience stores, according to Sgt. Mary Kusmiss of the Berkeley Police.

An officer spotted the suspect pumping gas into his white Volvo at the Econo Gas Station at Eighth Street and University Avenue. When the officer approached and stuck his upper torso into the window of the car, the suspect drove the car forward and then put it into reverse, knocking down the officer, according to Sgt. Kusmiss. The suspect then drove away, prompting a car chase through West Berkeley. He eventually abandoned the car – which the Oakland Tribune said still had the gas nozzle sticking out of the gas tank — and fled on foot, said Kusmiss. Berkeley police were able to detain him.

Berkeley paramedics took the officer to the hospital where he is being treated, said Sgt. Kusmiss. His injuries were not significant. His name was not released. Charges will be filed against the 32-year old suspect, who is from Oakland, she said.

Update, 17.12: The Berkeley Police have arrested Deandre Soanne Irvin of Oakland in relation to this incident. He was arrested after a pursuit and some resistance in the parking lot of Bayer Corp in West Berkeley. Irvin, who was in possession of heroin and marijuana at the time of this arrest, is being held without bail.  

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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9 Comments

  1. Ah EconoGas. The first stop for every wallet crime in West Berkeley. I can attest to that with first hand victim knowledge.

  2. I’d like to thank Berkeley PD for catching the guy and doing it safely according to their training. What might seem reckless to an observer with an untrained eye, is actually skilled high speed driving in an urban setting.

    To the poster that mentioned a dispatchers responsibilty I ask, is the dispatcher supposed to use their advanced ESP to determine the nature of an officers injuries while he’s involved in a potentially life threatening situation? Give a cop a break now and then.

  3. I was taking a walk through West Berkeley when this was happening & saw quite a few police cars drive by at different times. While they were traveling quickly, I felt they were also driving defensively & safely and I appreciated that fact!

  4. A cop passed me at 6pm while on my bike heading up Russell. I had guessed he was doubling the speed limit. I don’t think he was really reckless, but at the time I thought it was kind of obnoxious since it was a labeled bike route. At least they were after someone.

  5. i understand the urgency of the phrase ‘officer down’ but it doesn’t warrant placing civilians and motorists in danger. the police are paid to protect and serve, not to endanger. the streets that the police were barreling down are littered with numerous schools and pre-schools, not to mention all the foot traffic from the local businesses and the berkeley bowl. someone could have been seriously injured or killed by the half dozen or more police vehicles blazing through stop signs and lights. it should be the dispatch officers responsibility to inform the other officers as to what they’re responding to, including the condition of the officer knocked down. maybe then the responding officers wouldn’t be all amped up on adrenaline and driving without regard to those they should be protecting. it was ridiculous what i saw…

  6. Well, when a police officer hears “Officer Down!” they don’t know if that means minor injuries or something much worse.

  7. seriously? an officer being knocked down at a gas station was the reason for all the commotion yesterday?!? i’m glad the officer wasn’t hurt, but i felt endangered standing at the bus stop a block away (@ 7th & anthony) when everything broke out. i’ve never seen police drive so fast and wrecklessly on such a heavily trafficed (both pedistrian & vehicular) street. i found a street pole to stand behind as the police vehicles began fish tailing and burning rubber down 7th street, in case one of them lost control…which they easily could have done. i thought something horrible might have just happened, like a child run over, or nabbed from one of the schools in the neighborhood…glad they caught the suspect, the recklessness in which it was done, was frightful.

  8. More crime in Berkeley being caused by Oakland residents.

    Is there a study showing what percentage of petty & violent crime in Berkeley is perpetrated by non-Berkeley residents?

  9. There definitely seemed to be a lot of sirens around town yesterday. Too bad the cop wasn’t able to grab those keys to avoid the chase. Glad he didn’t get too hurt.