Gilberto Arce Armienta Jr., 24, was heading south on Whitman Street near Cottage Park Drive on a Suzuki street bike at about 12:30 p.m. and hit the brakes in an effort to avoid the 2013 Nissan Rogue in his path, according to Hayward police. He did not have a motorcycle endorsement on his California driver’s license, which was suspended.
Armienta was thrown from the bike, and he and the vehicle both hit the SUV broadside at about the same time, said Officer Jason Corsolini of the Hayward Police Department. Armienta landed in the southbound lane near 26313 Whitman St.
Firefighters gave him medical aid at the crash scene before he was transported to the Eden Medical Center trauma center in Castro Valley, according to a release from the Hayward Police Department.
He died at the trauma center that evening, family members said this week.
Hayward resident Mario Lima, 38, the driver of the SUV, was not arrested and is not suspected of having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, according to Hayward police.
Lima suffered abrasions to his face from the side-impact airbag and was released from the hospital before officers finished investigating for the day on Feb. 27, Corsolini said.
Details about the crash will be sent to the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, he said. Police had yet to determine who caused the accident as of Wednesday, March 6, and the crash remains under investigation.
Corsolini said it was unknown how fast Armienta was riding the motorcycle. The speed limit on that section of Whitman Street is 25 mph.
Armienta was being followed in a car by a friend, and the driver of that vehicle, like Armienta, was driving without a license, Corsolini said.
Armienta’s sister, Mayra Armienta, said her brother knew how to drive the motorcycle well, and his cousin, Cynthia Armienta, said he was working hard to get the money to take care of the suspended license.
"He was trying to better himself," Cynthia Armienta said.
Family members said Tuesday, March 5, that although Armienta knew the driver of the black Mercedes who was trailing him, the man took Armienta’s wallet and cellphone from the crash scene. Friends retrieved the phone, but no one knows where he went later on, they said, and he is not returning calls.
However, Corsolini said firefighters removed the victim’s wallet at the crash scene, adding that it would be returned to the family at a later time. He said the driver of the Mercedes, who was known to police, was cooperative with authorities at the scene and pulled over after the incident and flagged down others for help.
Still, he said police would look into allegations brought forward by family members.
Armienta had been staying with relatives in the Bay Area and was scheduled to go to work at Tesla Motors in Fremont at 5 p.m., family members said.
Armienta, an Oakland native, was raised in Newark and moved to Grayson with his immediate family in 2010 to be closer to extended family there. Family members said he had a troubled past, but he had reformed since getting the job at the Tesla plant last year and was due for a promotion.
His father, Gilberto Armienta Sr., said his son was respectful and enjoyed working on cars and partying with friends.
Cynthia Armienta described him as optimistic.
“He had a really positive attitude,” she said. “It didn’t matter if he was having a hard time; he would brush it off.”
His aunt, Socorro Armienta, described him as a good son, who was happy and friendly. He also had a great appetite and enjoyed drinking milk and eating, she recalled with a smile.
A Mass of Christian burial will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 7, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 529 I St. Visitation will be observed from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6, at Hillview Funeral Chapel, 450 W. Las Palmas Ave., with a recitation of a rosary taking place at 7 p.m.
Anyone with information about the Feb. 27 crash can call Corsolini or Officer David Johannes at the Hayward Police Department traffic bureau, 510-293-7099.
• Contact Jonathan Partridge at 892-6187, ext. 26, or firstname.lastname@example.org.