Alameda warns drivers to be careful as time changes

It's an annual ritual - falling back one hour for daylight saving time this weekend.

It might seem to be a routine change, but Alameda's police chief and mayor say it could lead to some major consequences if drivers aren't alert. 

"Depending on where you're driving and where the sun is, that could impact visibility," said Alameda Police Chief Nishant Joshi.

Alameda Mayor Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft said, "The sun, we're now in the fall season, the angle of the sun, the angle of the morning sun, it is really, really strong. It - it can be blinding."

Almost exactly two years ago, Alameda County supervisor Wilma Chan was struck and killed by an SUV as she was walking her dog near Shoreline Drive and Grand Street in Alameda.

Authorities said the woman who was driving had stopped at a stop sign. But because of the rising sun, she didn't realize Chan was ahead of her just feet away in an adjacent crosswalk.

"She approached the next intersection with the sun in her eyes, blinding her, and she was driving one of those high-profile, tall SUVs," Ashcraft said.

The supervisor, a friend of the mayor, was killed. The driver was not charged in the death, which happened days before the time change.

In a statement Wednesday, Chan's daughter Jennifer said, "Our loss could have been avoided, so as we enter this same time of year, we would like to take the opportunity to remind everyone to take extra precautions to prevent another tragedy."

"There are so many little things that you can do, precautions you can take that have a huge impact that could save a life, and no one wants to be responsible for taking another's life," the mayor said.

Joshi agreed, saying, "These are things as responsible drivers, you gotta take the time and make sure you're doing the things that are going to mitigate risks."

In February, an 86-year-old man was hit and killed on Alameda's Bay Farm Island. Joshi says the driver had failed to defog the windshield.

"It's going to be a little bit colder out, so windshields could be fogged. Take the time to clear the fogged windshields."

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and