Pixar Employee Feels Fortunate to Celebrate another Holiday with Family after Horrific Pedestrian Collision

Published On December 24, 2019 | By Sarah Belle Lin | Community Voices, In the Neighborhood, Neighbor Spotlight, News & Commentary

It was just another day of commuting home after his job as a building engineer at Pixar this past Aug. 21 — except that it wasn’t. Shortly after leaving work, James Andereggen was struck by a vehicle in broad daylight while walking to a nearby bus stop. The accident could have easily claimed his life.

Four months after the accident, The E’ville Eye caught up with Andereggen to provide an update to the community on his recovery progress. He feels fortunate to be celebrating another holiday with his family at home.

“I’m lucky to be alive! I had many staples in the back of my head for a long time. I fortunately didn’t suffer any broken bones, but I’m still suffering from concussion-related injuries,” said Andereggen. “Time will tell how those things heal and I’m hoping they heal, because it’s been a pretty big impact on my lifestyle.”

Since he was 16, Andereggen has held at least one job. Changing pace from working and commuting to sitting at home for nearly three months has been grueling for him.

“At my job [at Pixar], I probably walk 10 miles a day,” said Andereggen. “The doctor’s orders were limit the amount of television, screen time, reading or anything that provokes brain activity. So there I was at home in a chair for two and a half months.”

With some restrictions, Andereggen was able to return back to his job back in mid-October. It didn’t take long for him to run into another Pixar employee who had witnessed his accident.

“This gentleman was walking down the sidewalk path and he looked at me and he says, ‘Oh my god, that’s you. I witnessed your accident! When that guy hit you, it sounded like two vehicles hit each other,’” Andereggen recalled.

The Intersection of 45th & Hollis where Andereggen was struck by a truck.

Andereggen typically uses the bus stop on Park Avenue as the first leg of his commute back home to Oakley. But that day, he wrapped up work in the northwest corner of the campus closest to the Hollis and 45th stop. He said goodbye to his co-worker and walked towards the intersection.

“Next thing I know, I woke up in an ambulance,” said Andereggen. “I wasn’t on my phone. I didn’t have any headphones on or anything. I looked for cars before I entered the intersection. I guess I was about halfway through the crosswalk when I got hit.”


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Andereggen was taken to Highland Hospital where he received a scan that showed bleeding from his brain. Though the injury was significant, he described the way he landed and the area of his head he landed on probably saved his life.

“I landed on the perfect part of my skull,” said Andereggen. “If I would have hit the side of my head that hard, I probably would have died.”

After working and commuting in Emeryville for 10 years, Andereggen has a pretty good handle on which intersections one should avoid. He’s noticed many drivers don’t seem to hesitate before blowing through stop signs around the area of the Pixar campus, where roughly 1,200 employees commute to and from during the work week.

Every single intersection … is so dangerous. There’s no fear of consequences at any of those intersections.

Emeryville City Councilmember John Bauters was coincidentally a witness to Andereggen’s accident and tweeted about the need for more dialogue about traffic calming in the city. Bauters noted at the time that he would request that City Council add pedestrian safety at the intersection to their agenda.

“A discussion took place at the September meeting and staff set it for full discussion at the November meeting,” according to Bauters. “The committee recommended changes to 45th Street that will include the 45th and Hollis intersection and it’s headed to the BPAC (Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee) for review. Those changes include lighting, bike lanes, bulb outs at the crossings and other mitigation.”

Andereggen believes the lack of traffic enforcement is the primary reason people aren’t thinking twice about breaking traffic laws. His claims received further validation with a hit-and-run involving a cyclist just a block from the Pixar entrance on Sunday.

“I call [45th and Hollis] my ‘bad luck intersection’, so I try not to go there,” said Andereggen. “Every single intersection — whether it’s 45th and Hollis, 45th and Doyle, or the one in front of Pixar on Park Avenue — is so dangerous. There’s no fear of consequences at any of those intersections.”

About The Author

has been writing for the better part of her life. Now she is reporting for two community newspapers and editing for an environmental journal at Cal. Sarah has written stories on local government, education, transportation, homelessness, and climate change. Sarah aims to highlight diverse narratives and is excited to contribute a fresh perspective to The E'ville Eye.

19 Responses to Pixar Employee Feels Fortunate to Celebrate another Holiday with Family after Horrific Pedestrian Collision

  1. David Fields says:

    Sarah Belle Lin: How do you know this was an accident? That immediately absolves the driver of any responsibility, but you provide no evidence for that to be the case. This line from your article would imply a law was violated, further pushing this away from an accident (“Andereggen believes the lack of traffic enforcement is the primary reason people aren’t thinking twice about breaking traffic laws.)
    How about calling it what it was, a crash, until an investigation and potential legal action provides the conclusion?

    • Rob Arias says:

      David, the driver stayed at the scene and I recollect visited James in the hospital. Hardly the mark of someone who maliciously tried to mow him down. I’m sure they feel horrible and will have to live with this. I have reached out to the EPD to see if they were charged with anything.

      • Rob Arias says:

        Follow up: per the EPD, there were no charges filed against the driver in this incident.

      • David Fields says:

        Thanks for the follow-up Rob. Incident, the term you use in the follow-up reply, would be a great way to report it over accident. I appreciate it.

    • Anonymous says:

      The word “accident” does not absolve the driver of any responsibility. It indicates the driver did not intend to hit the pedestrian.

      If a child breaks a lamp accidentally, it means they did not intend to break it. It does not mean they won’t get in trouble for running in the house if that was the case. An accident simply implies a lack of intent. Rob’s usage is 100% correct.

      Activists are currently trying to eliminate the word “accident” and replace it with “crash” because they feel it furthers a political objective by placing the focus on the car (the word crash is associated with racing, drivers, and cars).

      It’s a stupid and annoying attempt to control the discussion by controlling and redefining common usage of common words.

      Berkeleyside gave in to this pressure from the activists some time ago. It’s nice to see the EvilleEye remaining neutral and objective. 👍👍

      • David Fields says:

        According to this NY Times article, using crash instead of accident is “the position of a growing number of safety advocates, including grass-roots groups, federal officials and state and local leaders across the country.”

        Crash is actually the neutral term (it’s undisputed that a crash occurred). It’d would be appreciated if journalists would abide by that objective standard.

        https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/23/science/its-no-accident-advocates-want-to-speak-of-car-crashes-instead.html

      • David Fields says:

        One additional thought…a child is deemed to have broken a lamp accidentally after it’s been determined that’s what happened. The child may even be presumed to have broken it accidentally. But not every broken lamp was broken by accident and assuming it was means any other motive never gets considered.. Let’s at least consider that sometimes a crash wasn’t an accident and leave the conclusion for after an investigation.

      • Anonymous says:

        According to The NY Times link, this is an activist ploy as previously described.

        Trying to eliminate “accident” is political advocacy trying to manipulate the discussion by forcing media to adjust its terminology based on an incorrect and inaccurate definition of the term “accident” that implies (incorrectly) that accident implies a lack of fault. It doesn’t.

        This type of psychological game is dishonest. People are perfectly capable of understanding that a negligent driver or negligent pedestrian may have caused an accident. Unless there is an indication that the driver deliberately intended to hit the pedestrian, “accident” is absolutely the correct term.

        We should never allow activists to drive an agenda by suggesting words mean something they don’t and demanding elimination of words to facilitate that agenda.

        George Orwell would be both impressed and disgusted that people are still at this game.

        “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.”

    • Who wants to live in a society where people are assumed to be guilty until proven innocent? says:

      I didn’t know there was a movement to replace accident with crash. So I read the reasoning for this on some websites – prepared by lawyers and government officials. I also looked at various dictionaries to differentiate the words. Despite that research – this is what I think:

      When I read or hear the word “crash” – I think of a vehicle hitting a solid surface – like a building, the ground or another vehicle (car, bike, scooter, airplane, boat, train, etc..)

      When I read or hear the word “collision” – I think of a vehicle hitting another vehicle. (After the Cosco Busan hit the Bay Bridge – I learned when a ship hits something stationary – that is an allision.)

      When I read or hear the word “incident” – I think a minor event has happened. Perhaps a vehicle hit a sign or brushed a pedestrian – and no one was injured. Or a biker ran into a pedestrian – a few bruises – but no long term injuries.

      When I read or hear the words “hit and run” or “under the influence” associated with a crash / collision / incident – I assume an unintentional event occurred but the action alone deserves punishment.

      The key for me is when I read or hear the word “accident” – I think any of the above occurred – but I assume it was unintentional until an investigation is completed. In which case – an updated or follow up article is warranted.

      We have recently learned about people using vehicles to hit pedestrians or buildings. But these incidents are not immediately called violence or terrorism until further investigation.

      In conclusion, when a vehicle hits a pedestrian – I don’t think it is a crash. Calling this a collision de-humanizes the person hit – so collision is not appropriate. When injuries were not as severe as this one – I think it should be called an incident. When a driver stays at the scene – and because I know the PD always evaluates the possibility of participants being under the influence – I think accident was the right term for this article. Thank you Rob for following up and sharing the story of an optimistic person I am glad is alive.

      I understand the meaning of words has changed over time but since this article was written 4 months after the ACCIDENT – it was obviously the appropriate word.

      P.S. tweeting the incident Dec 22 was “traffic violence” is absurd – even when hit and run! Note the ditch and temporary traffic barriers at the intersection – somebody swerved. Wow! the victim “Says he feels bad for the person who hit him because they clearly didn’t do it on purpose.” Another example of an optimistic person I am glad to hear is alive. However – people who constantly tweet outrage are the true cowards.

      • Anonymous says:

        “I didn’t know there was a movement to replace accident with crash.“

        That’s why it’s so effective. It flies under the radar as political activism.

        Your understanding of the nuances of the different words is dead on correct and describe the commonly understood meaning of each of the words.

  2. David Fields says:

    @anonymous…ahh yes, those notorious “Federal officials” who are notorious for pedestrian safety advocacy. Please cite one from the current Federal administration.

    How about we let professionals like the 40,000 professional city planners of the American Planning Association provide guidance? They’ve recommended not using accident too.

    • The U.S. Senate voted 93 to 6 on January 31, 2017 to confirm Elaine Chao as head of the U.S. Transportation Department says:

      Here is someone concerned about safety:

      https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/318614-how-secretary-chao-can-save-lives-in-active-communities

      https://www.autonews.com/commentary/elaine-chao-speedier-path-innovation

      https://aashtojournal.org/2019/03/15/usdot-secretary-chao-transportation-future-must-focus-on-safety-innovation/

      https://www.nhtsa.gov/press-releases/roadway-fatalities-2018-fars

      https://www.nhtsa.gov/search?keywords=pedestrian

      Trump derangement syndrome (TDS) is a term for negative reactions that are irrational and have little or no regard towards United States President Donald J. Trump’s actual positions or actions taken.

      TDS is defined as “hatred of President Trump so intense that it impairs people’s judgment.”

      TDS is a “general hysteria” among the chattering classes and sufferers of TDS are incapable of accurately perceiving the world.

      Seek professional counseling – the next five years are going to be painful for a few.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of this is driven by activists. The city planners are not having meetings worried about the use of one word or the other. They could care less.

      Activists are trying to achieve a political outcome. They go to the city planners and say, “We are trying to advocate to reorganize cities and streets around bicycle and pedestrian traffic. This drives a huge amount of city planning work and funding for projects (not to mention drives up real estate prices) which will benefit your members who make their living from city planning. Can we get your endorsement on changing some terms to align with our advocacy in a way that demonizes auto use and encourages major traffic and street overhauls? It’s part of an $X million public relations campaign that we are confident will alter the political landscape in a way that will boost your industry.”

      Then some yahoo claims on a forum that 40000 city planners agreed to participate in a political ploy so the plot must now be taken as fact🙄

      It’s complete nonsense. It’s dishonest. And I would go one step further and say that it’s evil.

      “Accident” is the correct and common term for an unintentional collision between cars, bicycles, and/or pedestrians. It is also neutral as to fault. The dictionary agrees, and as far as words go, Webster has more authority than the association of city planners.

      • David Fields says:

        Here’s the dictionary’s definition: accident[ ak-si-duhnt ]: an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap:

        That exactly is a conclusion not supported until investigation occurs.

        Crash is objective, there’s no doubt it happened. Accident requires interpretation, which is why Rob asked the police for an interpretation.

      • Anonymous says:

        Crash is NOT objective and not accurate. It is NOT neutral either. If it were, you wouldn’t be doing advocacy to promote it.

        We do not assume drivers intentionally try to mow down people and wreck their cars as a default. It would be idiotic to do so. But that’s exactly what you’re suggesting we do.

        Why? Because it misleads people in support of your advocacy goals.

    • Anonymous says:

      Is this you?

      https://nelsonnygaard.com/staff/david-fields/

      If so, I rest my case.

      • David Fields says:

        Yes, certified city planner. Our work is funded by municipal governments, not advocates. Happy to discuss it in person. I’ve been very public about my name and my credentials are easily found (as you did). Any time you’d like “Anonymous”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep, so you don’t think it’s disingenuous to tell everyone we need to listen to the APA while not revealing your relationship to the group you are saying has all the answers? And all the while knowing exactly what the APA is up to?

        I just went through the APA’s site and advocacy efforts and now realize that I appear to have mistaken the tail for the dog and who is wagging whom. You guys are behind all these initiatives to reconfigure our local cities and transportation.

        You’re doing advocacy to drive money into your own pockets. All the lingo we hear at the state and local level that is complete nonsense (including your BS efforts to replace the word “accident” with “crash”) is part of your advocacy network’s policy guides to drive funding and work to city planners.

        Ya’ suck. But I appreciate your revealing where this crap is coming from. It makes perfect sense. Again, it’s evil, but sure, drive the complete destruction, reconfiguration, and gentrification of our communities out of taxpayer dollars to line your pockets while hiding behind claims of social advocacy.

        You and your group truly suck. Get your group out of our communities. Get out of our government. Get out of our forums. Get off our feeds. Get out of our politics.

        And get the hell out of our pockets.

  3. Anonymous says:

    For those interested in how this community forum is being co-opted to drive the APA’s political and financial objectives, the task is laid out as Policy Statement C-1 of the linked guide below. The guide and various notes on how to advocate for these objectives are part of the APA’s Advocacy Network which involves planners being encouraged and taught how to promote certain APA policy objectives locally (complete streets, Vision Zero, Smart Development, and all the other buzz words you keep seeing pop up everywhere along with requests for funding these changes).

    Note the all important final bullet which underscores what this is all fundamentally about.

    Infuriating. 😡

    https://planning-org-uploaded-media.s3.amazonaws.com/publication/download_pdf/Surface-Transportation-Policy-Guide-rev.pdf

    “ ■ Create a consistent language around safety—e.g., crash versus accident—and provide outreach to media on best practices (i.e., Reporting on Road Safety: A Guide for Journalists). For example, responsible reporting of crashes involving vulnerable road users should avoid implicit victim-blaming, which is often included in media reports (e.g., the bicyclist wasn’t wearing a helmet or the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing), and instead focus on objectively describing the incident.

    ■ Build political support and funding for improvements.“

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