Police dispatch center evacuated over fumes

The Richmond Police Department's communications center was evacuated early Thursday after a backup battery system overheated and leaked fumes.

The leak started about 4:45 a.m. when the system overheated and released fumes that smelled like sulfur, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

During the evacuation, emergency calls were diverted to the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office, which then relayed the information to Richmond police.

The backup power was restored a few hours later, and the dispatch center reopened around 8 a.m., Abetkov said.

The Richmond Police Department also dispatches for El Cerrito, San Pablo and Kensington.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff


Kaiser worker robbed in parking garage

A Kaiser Permanente employee walking in a parking garage near the hospital was robbed by two men armed with a knife and baseball bat, police said.

The employee was in a parking garage at 1425 S. Main St. just after 11:30 p.m. when the robbery occurred, Walnut Creek police Sgt. Tom Cashion said. Two men robbed the employee, and a third person drove the getaway vehicle, Cashion said.

Police did not give the victim's gender or age but said the employee was not injured physically. The robbers fled in a silver four-door SUV, possibly a Toyota Highlander, Cashion said.

The robber holding a knife was described as a white man in his 20s, with an average height and build. He was wearing a black jacket with gray sleeves, black pants and white tennis shoes. The man wielding a bat also was white, in his 20s with an average height and build, Cashion said. He was wearing a dark-colored jacket and a white hat.

Police had no description of the SUV driver.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff


Injury hit-and-run crash caught on video

Hercules police are seeking the driver who struck and seriously injured a pedestrian, then fled the scene.

The hit-and-run occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. Friday when a 70-year-old man was crossing in a crosswalk in the 1300 block of Willow Avenue. The victim was knocked out of the crosswalk by the crash and suffered head trauma, police said.

The driver stopped, got out of the vehicle and approached the victim. An eyewitness asked if the victim was OK, and the driver replied that he was breathing. The driver then got into his car, backed up, drove around the victim and left the scene.

The victim was transported to a local trauma center in serious but stable condition. He has since been released, police said.

The driver is described as a white man, 6 feet, 2 inches tall, 220 pounds and balding. He was driving a mid-size SUV, dark in color, which may have front end damage.

The incident was recorded by a video camera on a passing transit bus.

Anyone with information about the collision is asked to contact the Hercules Police Department 510-724-1111.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff


High schools compete in science bowl

Teams from 24 Bay Area high schools will compete in a regional science bowl Saturday, vying to represent their campuses at the National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.

The annual event, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, is aimed at interesting youth in careers in science and math, according to the DOE. It will be held at Las Positas College at 3000 Campus Hill Drive.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. in Building 1700 for the event, which is free and open to the public.

The competition begins at 9 a.m. in various buildings on campus and parking fees will be waived for the day, said Timothy Shepodd, who is coordinating the competition for Sandia National Laboratories.

More information about the National Science Bowl is available by calling 202-586-6702 or by visiting

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff


Crash leads to outage, daylong road closure

A major East County thoroughfare was closed for most of the day Thursday following a vehicle crash Wednesday night that knocked down a power pole.

Brentwood Boulevard from Guthrie Lane to Sellers Avenue was closed after a car crashed into the pole on the road at 8:22 p.m., according to police. Only minor injuries were reported.

The road remained closed until around 4 p.m. Thursday, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Simmons, as PG&E crews worked to replace the pole, which fell across all lanes of traffic and caused widespread power outages.

Power had been restored to all but a handful of customers by Thursday morning, according to a PG&E outage map.

Drivers were detoured on Walnut Boulevard and Concord Avenue.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff


Hearing on charter school field upgrades

The public is invited to comment through Feb. 21 on an environmental report related to proposed athletic field improvements at Clayton Valley Charter High School.

Community members also are invited to a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the school library at 1101 Alberta Way, where the district will consider whether or not the proposed project would adversely impact people, traffic and the environment, among other things.

The project includes bleacher extensions, a concession stand and restroom building, ticket booth, equipment storage containers, entry paving and drainage, entry gates, safety lighting and signage.

More information about the report is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 85615 or by visiting Click on "CVCHS Public Meeting."

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff


Woman arrested in man's fatal shooting

Police arrested a 30-year-old woman Wednesday in the shooting death of a Vallejo man.

Police identified the suspect as Angela Black, of Vallejo, and said she was booked on suspicion of murder and attempted murder.

A 47-year-old man, whose identity has not yet been released by police, was shot and killed before 6 a.m. Wednesday at a home in the Vallejo Mobile Estates in the 100 block of San Miguel Road.

The slaying was the city's second homicide of the year.

-- (Vallejo) Times-Herald


Younger brother sought in girl's slaying

A 17-year-old girl was shot and killed Thursday afternoon at a Chinatown apartment building, and investigators were looking for her 14-year-old brother in connection with the slaying, police said.

The shooting happened shortly after noon in a fifth-floor unit at 801 Franklin St., police said. The victim, whose name was not released, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The killing was the eighth homicide in Oakland this year.

-- Kristin J. Bender and Harry Harris, Staff