BERKELEY, Calif. - An AC Transit bus and a red Honda Civic crashed into each other early Thursday morning, killing the 27-year-old woman driving the car and causing the bus to veer into the porch of a home in Berkeley.
Berkeley Police Sgt. Andrew Frankel called the 6:30 a.m. collision at Ashby and California avenues an extremely "uncommon" event. Whose fault it was has not yet been determined.
Kelvin Zachery, who is an AC Transit bus driver out of work on disability, identified the Honda driver as his daughter, Kelli Zachery. He said she was on her way to the IRS when the accident happened. She was studying to be a nurse. He saw pictures of the accident on KTVU and rushed over to the scene on his bike.
Kelvin Zachery was eventually allowed to cross police lines to hear words that a father never wants to hear: Your daughter has died.
Kelvin Zachery fears he knows the bus driver involved in the deadly crash because they work at the same agency, but he hasn't yet been told his name. He is not angry with the driver, but broke down in tears at the scene, even hugging and praying with a KTVU photographer.
As police explain it, Kelli Zachery's Honda Civic was traveling southbound across the intersection of California Avenue and the AC Transit bus was traveling westbound on Ashby Avenue.
When the two vehicles collided, the force pushed both of them across the road and into a parked minivan and the front porch of a house on Ashby Avenue.
AC Transit spokesman Robert Lyles said investigators are trying to figure out what happened. He noted that California has a stop sign and Ashby does not. But the "why and how" of the accident has not yet been explained, he said.
The AC Transit bus has cameras on board, which will be reviewed for any clues to see how the crash occurred.
"The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District (AC Transit) wishes to extend our deepest condolences to the family of the driver involved in today's tragic event," Lyles said in a statement. "We will continue to work closely with the Berkeley Police Department as they investigate the circumstances of this collision."
Lyles said the AC Transit operator involved in the collision had been with the District since 2014 and was fully cooperating with the investigation.
Police said no other injuries were reported and that the driver of the bus was OK. As is standard, the driver will be interviewed and screened for drugs and alcohol and given counseling to see how he's doing.
Other than the bus driver, only one passenger was on board.
Jorge Ortiz was that AC Transit passenger. He said he was looking at his GPS at the time of the crash and all of a sudden he was "sliding across the intersection and we gripped on for dear life."
Erica Noble lives nearby and was shocked to hear the noise.
"I'm lucky it didn't hit this house," she said pointing behind her. "That's why I was like, 'Wow.' I'm amazed."