Robert Bennett killed in hit-and-run crash


A 68-year-old man killed by a hit-and-run driver crossing a street near Lake Merritt in Oakland Friday morning has been identified by the Alameda County coroner as nonprofit executive Robert Bennett of Oakland.

Oakland police said Bennett was hit by a dark gray Chrysler van while he was in the crosswalk at Harrison and 23rd streets at about 9:10 a.m. on Friday and was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital about 90 minutes later.

Police said the driver left the van briefly and looked at Bennett then got back in the vehicle and drove off. The driver is still at large.

Between 2004 and 2015 Bennett was the president and chief executive of the Felton Institute, a San Francisco nonprofit organization that provides treatment and other services to low-income families, children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

Bennett received attention in 2014 for a personal website containing what the Chronicle’s Matier & Ross called “very graphic pictures and controversial postings.”

Bennett founded the Oakland consulting firm Resource Development Associates in 1984. It helped Bay Area governments develop policies on issues such as juvenile justice reform, mental health treatment and homelessness.

Resource Development Associates officials said in a statement that Bennett founded the group:

“… as a vehicle for his vision to strengthen our public systems, though he had not been actively involved in the organization’s day-to-day operations since 2004.”

It said that since 2004 the organization has been headed by Bennett’s wife, Patricia.

RDA officials said:

“This is devastating news for all of us at RDA, but we will continue to live out his legacy through our service to our clients and the communities that Bob cared so deeply about.”

The nonprofit group said:

“Bob was a dedicated father, husband, and friend who loved the Bay Area and spent his entire professional life working to improve the lives of people throughout this community.”

RDA officials added:

 “Bob’s gentle demeanor and sincere belief in people and their power to change the world around them helped him build relationships with individuals from all walks of life. Through his work supporting public health and human service agencies, Bob’s impact is far-reaching and will last for generations.”

Oakland police said anyone who has information about the fatal crash should call their traffic investigation unit at (510) 777-8570.

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