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Live Blog from Tyler De Martini Vigil

Patch reported from the scene of Tyler De Martini's vigil on Wednesday night. Here, read about the conversations we had with friends, family and community members during the event.

[Editor's Note: See . What follows is our live blog of the event.]

UPDATE: 10:15 p.m. There are still about 30 people here, talking, hugging and sharing around the vigil. 

Tyler's cousin, Vincent Parella, said Tyler had a "heart of gold" and would "do anything for anyone."

"You could call that boy up at 3 in the morning," added Tyler's girlfriend, Hannah Le. "Even if it was something small, like a scary dream, you could call him and he'd pick up."

Parella, 22, said he basically grew up with Tyler, spending 2-4 nights a week at his home when they were younger. 

"He was there if I wanted him to be," he said. "He had friends all over. He knew everybody and everybody loved him."

UPDATE: 8:43 p.m. About 60 people, many of them young, are gathered on the southwest corner of Marin and Tulare avenues.

Within minutes of the beginning of the 8 p.m. vigil for Tyler De Martini, lit candles covered the grassy corner.

Signs wishing him well covered a nearby tree. Friends and community members lit incense, and shared memories about a friend they described as "all or nothing" in pursuit of his life, his friends and skateboarding.

Some of those in attendance are quietly watching, or holding lit candles. Others are sobbing, loudly and softly. 

Several friends shared happier memories of Tyler, like the way he was "in love with his hair," and would spend the better part of five minutes fixing his "swoop" strand by strand before being ready to leave.

They described him as a skilled athlete who wasn't much for school, but could have achieved more in it if he had been more interested.

Others described saying goodbye to him on his last day, as he headed down Marin bound for either the skate park or his girlfriend's home.

7:30 p.m.

We just received word that a number of friends of Tyler De Martini will be coming together at the corner of Marin and Tulare avenues in Berkeley, tonight at 8, where De Martini was . He died earlier today after his family removed him from life support.

According to a family friend, the group will be at the intersection "throughout the evening as a way to bring light to a really dark place right now."

A group of El Cerrito parents said they also hope to meet, at 7:30 p.m., on the corner of Marin and Tulare, with flashing lights and candles to raise awareness about what happened to De Martini, and remind people to slow down as they drive through the area. 

Friends and family members  on Wednesday afternoon. According to his mother, Kim De Martini, her son lived for just five minutes after he was disconnected from life support at Highland Hospital earlier today.

A MOTHER REFLECTS

Wednesday night, she and her twin sister came to look at the vigil set up on the southeast corner of Marin and Tulare for her son. (A neighbor said the actual crash happened on the northwest corner, but that the southeast side may have provided for more visibility to set up the memorial.)

It's a familiar neighborhood for the sisters, who grew up in Albany on Curtis Street and graduated from Albany High.

Kim De Martini described her son as "a charmer" and an "all-around fantastic kid" who excelled at sports, from baseball, basketball and soccer to his passion: skateboarding. 

De Martini said her son, who turned 18 in October, was never one to wear a helmet. His behavior hadn't struck her as any more nerve-racking than parenting in general, though.

"You always worry, as a mother," she said. 

Earlier in the day, as a group of about 50 kids visited Highland Hospital to say goodbye to De Martini, Kim said she'd made a point to tell the boys to wear their helmets without fail from here on out.

"Let's make his death mean something," she told them. "Let's make a symbol of Tyler."

De Martini said she was shocked to see so many friends come out to see her son. The boys, she said, were even more emotional than the girls, sobbing as the family made the decision to turn off her son's life support and let him go.

Earlier in the week, she said, doctors had been somewhat more optimistic. When De Martini was first taken into the hospital on Monday, she said, he reacted to light. But soon, she said, his brain began to swell, and doctors were unable to operate.

"He went into a coma and never came out," she said. 

As the sun set and the light faded Wednesday, De Martini looked north across Marin at cars whizzing past in both directions. No one seemed willing to stop for waiting pedestrians, including De Martini and her sister, as they slowly edged out to cross the road. 

"I love this city, but this gives me the shivers sitting here, watching this, the speeding and the darkness," she said, as she prepared to leave. "Tomorrow I need to figure out the funeral. But now I just need to get through tonight... and reflect on everything that happened this week."

OFFICIAL UPDATE

The Berkeley Police Department reported via email at 6:20 p.m. that De Martini's official time of death was at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday. Berkeley Police Sgt. Mary Kusmiss wrote that, "Although difficult to share, the BPD preliminary collision investigation has determined the ... Primary Collision Factor as 'a pedestrian in the roadway.' Skateboarders are considered pedestrians" in the California Vehicle Code.

According to California Vehicle Code 21956(a), "No pedestrian may walk upon any roadway outside of a business or residence district otherwise than close to his or her left-hand edge of the roadway." 

Click the "Keep me posted" button below for updates about pedestrian traffic safety issues, and other updates about Tyler De Martini. 

Read more about Tyler here on Patch.

C.Kristopherson February 04, 2012 at 09:28 AM
I am confused, based on the CA vehicle code, because he was on a skateboard he was a pedestrian. If he were on a bicycle would he have been considered something else? Either, or, would the same accident not have occurred? The tragedy here is that we give automobiles the benefit of the doubt. Were it not for a 3000lb steel object moving faster than the fastest person on earth, barreling down the street, this wouldn't have happened. Until people value the lives cars have taken over the utility cars bring to our lives, situations like this will continue to happen. It may sound callous but unfortunate death is part of every day life throughout the world. For those who are calling on police to enforce helmet laws on minors, should we not also enforce helmet laws on seniors who may also take a fatal fall on public sidewalks? To quote William Ross Wallace, “Every man dies - Not every man really lives.” For Tyler, he died doing something he loved to do. Can you say the same?
John Stashik February 04, 2012 at 05:04 PM
It appears to have been an accident. Pure and simple. Not a conspiracy of an automobile hunting down a kid on a skateboard. Accidents happen daily. Skateboards don't belong on roadways. Parents should teach that to their kids to lessen the chance of tragic accidents.
Joan Roos February 04, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Yes, as a pedestrian the skate boards and bikes are my biggest problem.
Teflon February 05, 2012 at 06:15 AM
I really like the idea of the vigil but it really has to be executed better at night. I just drove by there and there are hoards of kids crossing the street in dark clothing. That corner is so dark (something that needs to be changed ASAP) but they are just inviting another disaster. Not to mention people can't see all their slow down signs and signs remembering Tyler. Get some lights folks!
Teflon February 05, 2012 at 06:24 AM
That said, its nice people have showed so much caring and love for such a great kid. Rest in peace and prayers to him and his family.

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