Bay Bridge traffic backup involves man in crisis, fatal crash
OAKLAND, Calif. - A man suffering from a mental health crisis on the Bay Bridge caused a traffic backup for nine hours that led to the death of two people driving behind the string of cars caught up in the backup.
The crisis ended Thursday morning, but the damage to the morning commute had already been done.
The situation began about 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, when the California Highway Patrol closed some lanes of the bridge as crews worked to talk the man in crisis down to safety.
Fire trucks and ambulances were seen on the bridge near the man, who was looking over the side of a wall onto the bay below.
Traffic continued to be slow on the bridge.
And about 11:30 p.m., the driver of a Dodge Charger was going too fast at the time and rear-ended a semi-truck in the westbound direction of the bridge, east of Treasure Island, CHP Officer Erica Tatum said.
The driver and the passenger died as a result of that impact, Tatum said.
The driver of the semi was not injured.
That deadly crash closed all the lanes for hours as crews worked to clear the damage until about 3 a.m. Thursday.
The man suffering the mental health crisis remained on the bridge until about 6:30 a.m.
That's when he was taken to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, according to CHP Officer Mark Andrews.
Traffic, however, remained sluggish as two lanes on the bridge remained closed until 7 a.m.
Some commuters opted to take BART instead, right after she got a text from a friend who was stuck in the Bay Bridge traffic.
"She said don't do this," said Jennifer Edmister. "So, I was like, ‘Oh man, I need to take BART.’ But I didn't even have a clipper card because it's been a while since I've taken BART so I had to buy one."
Edmister said she was going to be a little late to work, but because of the tragedy on the bridge, she took it in stride.
"You know, perspective," she said.
Emergency crews surround a man having a mental health crisis on the Bay Bridge. March 16, 2023
Two people in a Dodge Charger died on the Bay Bridge. March 15, 2023