(Deborah Svoboda/KQED)
(Deborah Svoboda/KQED)

The old eastern span of the Bay Bridge will be open on Saturday to a group of people for whom the structure holds a tragic significance. The California Highway Patrol and the Bay Area chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving are sponsoring a memorial event for people who have lost family and friends on the span, which closed in September.

The idea for the memorial came when the bridge shut down over Labor Day weekend so Caltrans could make preparations to switch traffic to the new eastern span. Carol Leister of Castro Valley asked permission to visit the site where her son Scott died in 2008. Leister was killed when a driver the CHP says was drunk and traveling at more than 100 mph struck the car in which he was riding.

Here’s KTVU’s account of Carol Leister’s late summer visit to the spot where her son died (with video of the story at the end of the post):

A KTVU camera crew followed the California Highway Patrol onto the lower deck of the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge to visit that solemn spot.

“Anything we can do that prevents someone else from driving drunk,” said Carol Leister as the vehicles drove onto the bridge.

“I want to know that spot, and then I would like to walk the rest of it to where our car ended up,” Leister told the CHP after arriving.

In the five years since her son died, Leister and other family members have worked with MADD to bring attention to the ongoing problem of drinking and driving. That issue is what inspired her earlier trip to the bridge and MADD’s participation in the Saturday event. The CHP will again accompany families onto the old span for a 10 a.m. memorial and then allow them to visit the sites where loved ones passed away.

Here’s the KTVU video:


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at dbrekke@kqed.org.

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