Skip to main content

Nightmare Bay Bridge traffic, death, caused by fleeing burglary suspect, cops say

A car's headlights are visible with a bridge in the background at dusk, under a cloudy sky.
A crash delayed thousands of rush hour commuters Tuesday morning. | Source: RJ Mickelson/The Standard

A nightmare Tuesday morning of traffic on the Bay Bridge and an innocent driver's death were the results of a burglary suspect fleeing from cops, the El Cerrito Police Department said.

Officers were alerted to a burglary at Tobacco Outlet on San Pablo Avenue around 4:22 a.m. and learned a pickup truck rammed the front of the business.

Police then chased the truck after an attempt to stop it failed, and the driver headed for the Bay Bridge toll plaza.

After westbound Interstate 80 merged with westbound Interstate 580, the suspect abruptly changed direction on the freeway, driving the wrong way on I-580. At that point, police ended the chase.

"Tragically, the suspects continued on, driving in the wrong direction, and collided with two vehicles on I-580, resulting in the death of a motorist," a police spokesperson said.

The crash delayed thousands of rush hour commuters Tuesday morning.

At 4:31 a.m., California Highway Patrol officers responded to reports of a three-vehicle injury crash involving a wrong-way driver, CHP Officer Adib Zeid told The Standard.

When officers arrived at the westbound I-580 connector ramp just east of the Maritime Street on-ramp in West Oakland, they found two people in a white truck and a driver in a white van suffering from major injuries.

A driver in a gray Lexus was pronounced dead at the scene, Zeid said.

Late Tuesday, police identified the driver of the suspect vehicle as Patrick Scheckells, a 34-year-old man from Oakland. The other burglary suspect was identified as Andre Alberty, a 56-year-old man from San Francisco, police said.

Oakland firefighters also responded to the scene, with officers declaring a Sig-Alert and blocking two left lanes. The alert was lifted at 8:03 a.m., with traffic slowed by separate noninjury accidents along westbound Highway 24 and westbound I-80.

CHP is investigating the crash, while El Cerrito police are investigating the burglary. El Cerrito police said they will work with CHP to pursue criminal charges.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's office did not immediately respond to The Standard's request for comment.

George Kelly can be reached at