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Woman hit by truck said to be near death

By Judith Scherr Daily Planet Staff
Friday March 16, 2001

Bouquets of flowers surround the traffic-light pole at Hearst and Shattuck avenues near where Jane Ash was struck by a cement truck Tuesday. The 35-year-old Berkeley resident, a controller in the tuberculosis section of the State Department of Health, is said by a nursing supervisor to be near death at Alameda County Medical Center. 

In a week laced with vehicular accidents, Theodore Resnick of San Francisco died at the scene about 1 a.m. Wednesday at San Pablo and Ashby avenues, after being hit by a driver pursued by California Highway Patrol officers. On Thursday an unoccupied AC Transit bus struck a lightpole sending a woman and her baby to the hospital. 

On Tuesday, Ash took a coffee break at the Berkeley Express, across Shattuck Avenue from her job on the sixth floor of the state health department at Hearst and Shattuck. Jerry Brecher, a regular customer at the Express said he heard the noise when the truck hit the pedestrian. “Thirty seconds before she was getting coffee,” Brecher said.  

Moments before the accident, Ash waited on the northwest corner of the street until the light turned green, then proceeded to cross inside the crosswalk, said Lt. Russell Lopes, spokesperson for the Berkeley Police Department. A cement pumper truck was headed west on Hearst, then turned left onto Shattuck, striking Ash, Lopes said. 

“The driver admits he did not see the woman,” Lopes said. “He heard the impact,” and saw people gesturing, then stopped. Berkeley Cement referred the Daily Planet to its attorney who said he could not comment because an investigation was still in process. 

Lopes said when Ash was hit, she fell to the ground, hitting her head on the pavement. She suffered massive brain injuries, Lopes said. 

“It’s hard for all of her friends,” said Ash’s friend, Carol Lopes, who works for the city. Lopes said Ash was being kept on life support, waiting for a recipient for organs which she had wanted to donate. “She is just a wonderful person,” said Lopes, using the words “happy” and “open-hearted” to describe her friend. 

Dr. Sarah Royce, chief of the T.B. control branch of the Department of Health Services, said Ash has worked in her department for three years. She has been active in her field as director of the California TB Controller’s Association, Royce said, calling Ash a “hard-working dedicated T.B. controller.” She had been working on next Friday’s World T.B. day, Royce said.