An off-duty police officer died in a traffic accident on eastbound Interstate Highway 80 near San Pablo Dam Road Sunday morning, police said.
El Cerrito police Officer Jerrick Bernstine, of Hercules, was on his way home from work at about 6:15 a.m. when a van traveling in front of his vehicle lost control and collided with the center median, according to the El Cerrito Police Department. The officer’s car was reportedly among several vehicles that subsequently struck the van. Officer Bernstine died at the scene, while two others were hospitalized with major injuries, according to Bay City News, citing information from the California Highway Patrol. The CHP is still investigating the cause of the collision.
A statement from the El Cerrito Police Department described Officer Bernstine, age 26, as “everything a person could hope for in a police officer, citizen, teammate, son, brother, and friend.”
Bernstine became an El Cerrito police officer in February 2020 after beginning his career with the department as an Academy Recruit. Previously, he had worked as an in-home caregiver. In his two years with the ECPD, he was recognized as a model officer, “combining a humble personality with a tenacious crime fighting spirit,” the Police Department said.
“Officer Bernstine was passionate about giving back to his community,” his colleagues said.