Calif. officer stable after 3rd traffic incident in 39 months
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer
Berkeley police motorcycle officer Ben Cardoza just can't seem to get a break.
Cardoza was the victim of a hit and run Wednesday evening -- the third time he's been involved in a traffic incident while on-duty.
At about 5 p.m., Cardoza was riding his department-issued motorcycle and responding with lights and siren to a traffic collision when he swerved -- possibly to avoid a motorist -- and fell to the ground at Shattuck Avenue and Adeline Street, police said.
A motorist who was involved in the mishap fled the scene, police said. It was unclear whether the motorist made any contact with Cardoza or his bike. The incident is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol. A CHP spokesman was unavailable for comment Wednesday night.
Cardoza, 30, was taken to Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, where he was listed as stable, a nursing supervisor said.
Cardoza's parents, John and Seyem Cardoza, rushed to the hospital, something they've done two times before during his six years with the Berkeley police.
In August 2003, Cardoza was knocked to the ground on Ashby Avenue by a hit-and-run driver who was later arrested. In June 2004, Cardoza was broadsided near the downtown post office.
"How many times will he do this to me?" Seyem Cardoza lamented outside the hospital as her son was treated. John Cardoza, who said his son suffered only "road rash" and no broken bones, quipped, "He's still got six lives."
Berkeley traffic Sgt. Randy Files said of Cardoza, "He's a fine, outstanding officer who is well respected within the department."
The first crash involving Cardoza left him with major injuries to his arm and legs. Yet he was so eager to return to work that he called Sacramento state officials a few days afterward to ask about the status of a traffic safety grant he had secured, police said. Cardoza had to wait five months before he could get back on his bike.
The driver in that case, Leonard Lockett Jr., pleaded no contest to felony hit-and-run and was sentenced to three years in prison. Lockett had tried to cut across Ashby during a gap in traffic but struck Cardoza, who was responding to a traffic accident with lights and siren, police said.
In the second incident, a man ran a red light and struck Cardoza at Allston Way and Milvia Street. Hours afterward, Cardoza told The Chronicle he suffered "road rash and a bruised ego."
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