SUV Plunges into Water, Man Drowns

The scene just before raising the SUV from the water. Mike Rosati photograph

SUV Plunges into Water, Man Drowns

A man died after drowning in the Oakland Estuary just after 7 a.m., last Saturday morning when the vehicle he was driving plunged into the waters off the Bridgeside Shopping Center. The victim reportedly drove his SUV through the shopping center parking lot at Blanding Avenue and Broadway, past Nob Hill Foods and through a metal railing before sinking into the estuary waters.  

Witnesses later said that the driver did not brake and ended up in the estuary. 

Nob Hill cashier Brian Tetirick, still dressed in his work uniform, dove in and tried to save the man. Tetirick told KRON 4 News that he had just finished a transaction when a man came into the grocery store yelling for someone who could swim. After making two attempts to find the victim in the murky estuary waters, Tetirick went home, changed his clothes and returned about 11 a.m. to finish his shift. By then rescuers had removed the SUV from the water and determined there were no other victims. 

Just after Tetirick’s attempts, an Alameda firefighter dove into the estuary and pulled the man from the SUV. AFD paramedics transported the victim to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where attempts to save his life failed. 

Members of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office dive team joined AFD at the scene along with firefighters from the San Francisco Fire Department and the Southern Marin Fire Protection District to help search for other victims. A U.S Coast Guard rescue boat and helicopter arrived to assist in the search for other victims. Reports that later proved unfounded said that there could have been as many as two other people in the vehicle when it went into the estuary. 

The Alameda County Coroner’s office identified the victim as 31-year-old Jeffery Hardt from Oakland. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the accident. An Alameda firefighter, one of the department’s recue swimmers, suffered a minor injury during the incident.

Contact Dennis Evanosky at editor@alamedasun.com.

officials gather to assess the situation. Mike Rosati photograph
Ken Betts Towing to the rescue. Mike Rosati photograph
Divers prepare to plumb the depths of the Estuary. Mike Rosati photograph
SUV rises from the bottom. Mike Rosati photograph
SUV back on dry land. Mike Rosati photograph