Former El Cerrito High Student Dies From Skateboarding Injury

The 18-year-old former El Cerrito High student who was gravely injured when hit by a car Monday night while skateboarding died this afternoon at Highland Hospital, police said.

Tyler De Martini, an 18-year-old former student at El Cerrito High who when he was hit by a car on Marin Avenue while skateboarding, died at 4:10 p.m. today at Highland Hospital, according to Berkeley police.

"Members of BPD (Berkeley Police Department) extend their condolences to the DeMartini family," police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said in a news update.

Friends and family members of De Martini had been at his hospital bedside as the young man lay in a coma since the accident Monday night when he was hit by a car while riding his skateboard on Marin Avenue. 

A number of friends began saying their good-byes earlier in the day, following a report that tests for brain activity came back negative. Friend Laila Fawzi wrote on Twitter at about 2 p.m.: "I will never forget you.... I love you so much."

De Martini was skateboarding west down Marin Avenue about 7 p.m. Monday night when he was hit by a Prius going eastbound on Marin that was turning left onto Tulare Avenue, Berkeley police said. He was not wearing a helmet and had an obvious head injury, according to police and witness accounts.

The driver stopped immediately and was "very upset by the incident," Sgt. Kusmiss said. Alcohol was not a factor in the collision, she said.

Kusmiss added additional news with some reluctance:

"Although difficult to share, the BPD preliminary collision investigation has determined the PCF - Primary Collision Factor as 'a pedestrian in the roadway.' Skateboarders are considered pedestrians in the CA Vehicle Code. Pedestrian on Roadway CVC 21956.  (a) No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway."

Earlier today, Albany mom Amanda Azevedo said her daughter went to Highland Hospital to see Tyler. She shared, on Facebook, that her daughter called her crying at about 2:30 p.m., saying Tyler "passed away before they got there." 

Janet Scaglione, mother of one of De Martini's friend Gabe, wrote via email to Albany Patch that a number of kids were at the hospital writing notes to Tyler. 

Azevedo said her daughter went to Highland "with a few close friends; they're all still together. I told her she could be with them for a while, to talk and cry and be together."

Gabe Scaglione said De Martini was doing independent study this year. He was a junior last year at El Cerrito High.

His death is the second tragedy affected students from the high school in the past week. Early Sunday morning, senior Jeremy Crowder, an honor-roll student and member of the football team, was in Richmond.

De Martini was also the second East Bay young man to die from a head injury caused by a skateboarding accident in the past week. On Sunday, Friday after falling on a steep stretch of Juanita Drive in Saranap on the border of Lafayette and Walnut Creek, just south of Highway 24. Hacking was taken to Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek, fell into a coma and then died on Sunday, the Contra Costa County coroner's office reported.

For updates on this story, please click the "Keep me posted" button below.

Michelle Cammack February 02, 2012 at 01:47 AM
The quantity of some doesn't do the number of friends justice that came to honor, remember, and send their love to Tyler. He touched the lives of many which was demonstrated by the number of grieving friends and family! He was loved fiercely just how he lived and loved! The world lost a loving son, brother, nephew, cousin, and friend. I love you Tyler!
Charles Burress (Editor) February 02, 2012 at 02:07 AM
Michelle, I appreciate your comment. I just want to say that "some" was chosen to refer to those who were saying good-bye, not to all who are responding. Given the hospital report that he remains in critical condition, we weren't sure what proportion of the many who came to see him might still be holding out hope that he could survive. We certainly didn't mean to diminish the large number of people who have responded in the ways you describe.
mary smith February 02, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Unbearably sad for his family. I can't imagine what they're going through. Just want to say I'm so sorry to all who knew and loved him.
Charles Burress (Editor) February 02, 2012 at 04:22 AM
A note to readers possibly confused about the comments from me and Michelle about "some." The headline and first paragraph on an earlier version of this story said some of his friends were saying good-bye to him when he was still on life-support and listed in critical condition.
Toni Mayer February 02, 2012 at 04:32 AM
I'm so sorry to hear this, so sad for him and for his family.
Beth Ward February 02, 2012 at 04:47 AM
From what I have learned, this was a very much loved young man; for many people, while it may hurt now to hear it, I believe the soul is eternal: As Shakespeare is alleged to have said: "All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances ... " and this appears to have been Tyler's time to depart his worldly character. It can be hard to hear, but there is a wisdom of the ages in it...
Rodney Paul February 02, 2012 at 05:02 AM
A very sad outcome for our community. My deepest condolences to Tyler's family and friends.
Saul Goode February 02, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Good kid from a good family, such a tragic loss for all of us in Gaucholand.
Michelle Cammack February 02, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Charles I understand what you were saying but wanted to clarify because I was at the hospital and at his bedside along with the rest of his family. I am Tyler's cousin. The amount of friends and family physically at the hospital sending Tyler their prayers and love was overwhelming and a true testament to the amount of lives he has touched with his kind and loving heart.
Lise Teilmann February 02, 2012 at 08:06 PM
My heart goes out to Tyler's friends and family. My son is the same age, and knew Tyler from ECHS, as well as playing on a baseball team with him in middle school. My deepest condolences to the family, and to the many whose lives he touched.
Charles Burress (Editor) February 05, 2012 at 06:25 AM
Michelle, thank you for the further information, and I think I owe you and other family members and friends an apology for writing a headline that seemed like it downplayed the extent of grief and love being expressed for Tyler, which certainly wasn't my intention. In any case, I do apologize.


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