(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 is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke
Facebook: www.facebook.com/danbrekke
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/danbrekke

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor