Horrifying Accident on 40th Street leaves one dead

1 min read

A horrifying accident on 40th street at approximately 9:16 a.m claimed the life of a 61-year-old Elinor Carpenter of Oakland. A witness described the vehicle traveling westbound on 40th as “moving faster than she’d seen a car ever travel on a city street”. Bike East Bay advocate Robert Prinz noted that the driving conditions and narrow bike sharrows on the Oakland side of the border probably contributed to the unsafe driving conditions and unsafe bike/pedestrian intersection. “Traffic calming desperately needed!” he noted via Twitter.


The 2014 Hyundai reportedly clipped another vehicle prior to it crashing and in the witnesses words “then exploded”. The vehicle rolled several times according to one witness before striking the Oak Walk apartment complex. The building sustained minor damage to the facade and some structural damage. The victim was [pulled] from the car by firefighters but pronounced dead at the scene. A bus stop exists in the area of the crash but a confirmed report by the EPD noted that there was thankfully only the one driver fatality. 40th street kinks at the Adeline intersection so a fast-moving vehicle would have to swerve to realign. Some reports have indicated the driver may have suffered a medical emergency and detectives are awaiting toxicology and medical examiner’s reports from the Alameda County coroner’s bureau.


The family of Elinor Carpenter is looking for assistance with her funeral expenses through YouCaring.com

[This post has been updated to reflect the age, identity, make of the vehicle & other details.]
Feature Image: ‏@wesleymoy on Twitter

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Rob Arias

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who lived in Emeryville from 2003 to 2021. Rob founded The E'ville Eye in 2011 after being robbed at gunpoint and lamenting the lack of local news coverage. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.


  1. I walked by the site this morning, and was told the driver had a stroke. Never seen a car so totally smashed. She apparently hit several (6 or 7?) cars and rolled a few times before crashing into the building, which also sustained considerable damage. Truly tragic and sad.

  2. As a witness to the crash, I can confirm that the car nicked the side of one car waiting at the stop light, but other than that, mercifully, there were no other cars involved in the crash. The vehicle came down 40th St into the direction of oncoming traffic and then hit the median before flying straight into the building on the other side of the street. The car did not slow down or brake or swerve and so it appeared that the driver was not in control of the vehicle. The car was coming at about 90 miles an hour. I thank God no one else was injured or killed.

      • Hello I am the granddaughter of the woman who died (Elinor Carpenter) we are trying to fundraise money to provide funeral services and a reception. Me and my family are wondering if the link can be posted anywhere so that the public can see, I included the excerpt that you posted of the story. And if there is anything you can do please email me back. The link to donate is also listed below.


  3. That sounds awful. I just drove by at 3 pm and the street is still closed off. I don’t know what happened exactly, Rob, sounds like no one does yet, but I think it’s jumping the gun, if a car’s going 90 mph to highlight “traffic calming needed.”

    • Yeah, there’s generally so much traffic in that area that cars are not traveling fast I’d say. Not my words though and I identified him as a Bicycle advocate.

      • I’ll also add that my concern with 40th Street from San Pablo to MLK is not related to “narrow bike sharrows” but that the street is far too wide, making speeding too easy, intentional or not. Whether this morning’s crash was related to the conditions on the Oakland side remains to be seen (and I have observed plenty of speeding on the Emeryville side as well), but either way it is an issue.

        I do work for Bike East Bay but consider myself a complete streets advocate. Outside of work I spend just as much time advocating for pedestrian, transit, and ADA improvements in the community.

    • I appreciate the appeal for restraint Laura, but I stand by my statement that considerable traffic calming is needed on 40th regardless of this individual incident. The sharrows from San Pablo to MLK are a compromise that benefits nobody.

  4. The car was westbound. I was sitting at a light on the West side of San Pablo. I didn’t even see the vehicle until it hit the building.

  5. Minor correction: I didn’t even see it hit the building. I saw the cloud plume (I guess the brickwork and dirt) and the remnants of the SUV emerging out of it a bit off the ground.

  6. Nope. I saw it in the street looking exactly like in the photo. Cylindrical muffler on 40th going Eastbound, don’t know if that narrows it down to a manufacturer. Haven’t been following muffler technology.

  7. Probably the most brutal looking remnants of a car accident that I’ve ever seen. There was shrapnel that flew towards the end of the block. I suspect that either there was something wrong with the vehicle, or she had some kind of health issue while driving, e.g.–stroke, heart attack, etc. Such a tragedy. I feel sad for her and her family.

    • Agreed. I was standing on sidewalk at the entrance to the 7-11 and was hit with some small debris. Larger pieces flew past me. A gentleman driving eastbound got out of his truck and stabilized her head/neck until ambulance arrived. All I could do was hold her hand. I am so sorry sorry for the family’s loss.

  8. I was the first car sitting at the red light northbound on Adeline at 40th. She came flying through the intersection heading westbound on 40th at an unbelievably fast rate of speed. It seemed like 100 miles per hour. She hit what looked like the curb, got slightly airborne, plowed into the building, then rolled about three times. The car instantly disintegrated into a million pieces. It looked like a race car hitting the wall at a track, except she did not get out. By the time I pulled over, parked and walked over to the scene, the E’ville police and ambulance were there. The roof of the car was gone. Amidst the substantial debris field, you could see the transmission of the car laying about 10 feet away in the street. The emt’s removed her from the car on a gurney into the ambulance. The ambulance never sped away. It sat there for over an hour, which suggests she was already deceased. It was a horrific scene, worse than any movie. Not only was the the extent of how obliterated the car was unreal, but the speed at which she was traveling was simply unbelievable. This was not how I planned the start of my day. God only knows what would have happened had she made it further down 40th and reached San Pablo Ave, which was full of cars and pedestrians.

    • Yes, or if she had come seconds later once the light turned green… I was in the car turning left, westbound on 40th St at the intersection of Adeline. Her car nicked the car I was in as she came flying past. First time I’ve been thankful for that red light. My heart goes out to the woman’s family, just so sad.

      • It would have been a direct hit on your driver’s side which you would have not likely survived. Probably a day you won’t be forgetting any time soon. May she rest in peace.

      • Im very sad to hear that i lost my grandma im only 15 years old and she was supposed to be at my sister’s graduation today but apparently she didn’t make it But she was a loving and caring grandma to all of us and i really miss and love her

    • So sorry for your loss! I will continue to pray for you and your family as you grieve the loss of your loved one. Peace be still.


  9. This is a very strange story. It won’t make sense until the details come out. For now it sounds like the person had a massive medical emergency, and her foot unintentionally floored the gas pedal as she lost consciousness. Also, was this accident half in Oakland, half in Emeryville? I think Adeline is the dividing street on 40th, so did the accident straddle both cities? It’s just amazing that no other person walking or driving got hurt- thank goodness for that.

  10. For editing accuracy of this story, the victim was not cut from the car. Amazingly the driver side of the car was not as heavily damaged as the passenger side. The firefighters just pulled her out within minutes of the crash and placed her in an ambulance where she laid until the coroner was able to get their about an hour later. As tragic and as awful as this car accident was, the street was “empty” and so were both bus stops that sit outside of this building. I hope her family and loved ones get the answers they need from authorities.

  11. I live in the building that was struck and know the property manager, what a tragic accident. Just for clarification purposes, there was facade damage, but no structural damage, also no trees were affected. May the driver rest in peace and prayers for her family at this difficult time.

      • No, the tree is just short. The picture is very deceiving. For someone who doesn’t live in the direct vicinity I could understand how you could come to that conclusion just looking at the picture. The other tree closest to the building is not leaning, that actually is the bus stop sign that is leaning towards the tree.

  12. Does anyone know about the safety record of the type of car she was driving? Maybe the gas pedal got stuck, I’m thinking that might be another possible explanation as to why she was going so fast. I feel so sorry for her and am just thankful the streets were empty and no one else got hurt. One block further on San Pablo and surely other people’s lives would have been impacted.

  13. So sad Rip E she just lost her son last year in December which my oldest friend possibly Fam, I heard the news recently she In a better place now,with her.first child and her late husband. Rip E sad sad

  14. She was a beautiful woman, with a sweet spirit. RIP my sister. We go way back. You will forever be in my heart. That lovely smile of yours is ingrained in my mind and my heart.

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