BERKELEY (CBS SF) — University of California at Berkeley officials have confirmed that campus counsel Christopher Patti was killed in a hit-and-run crash in west Sonoma County on Sunday morning.

California Highway Patrol Officer Jon Sloat said Patti was riding his bicycle on River Road in west Sonoma County west of Guerneville at 8:45 a.m. when he stopped on the right shoulder to look at his cellphone.

At the same time, the driver of a BMW lost control on a curve, slid across the road and struck Patti. He’s was declared dead at the scene.

The driver of the BMW left the scene and drove back toward Guerneville. A license plate from the vehicle was found at the scene.

Sloat said the CHP was searching for Jonathan Ritter, 28, of Rio Nido and Monte Rio, who was considered a person of interest in the crash.

In a release from UC Berkeley Public Affairs Department, Chancellor Carol Christ said Patti represented the best of Berkeley.

“I speak for the Berkeley community in saying how grief-stricken we are at Chris Patti’s untimely death,” she wrote. “He was an extraordinary colleague. He loved the university and he had a deep core of integrity that motivated everything he did. He was smart, he was compassionate. He was everything you wanted the counsel of the campus to be. We offer our sympathy to his family and his friends for this tragic loss.”

Patti also worked in the Office of the General Counsel at University of California’s Office of the President from 1990 to 2010, specializing in litigation involving academic and student affairs, constitutional issues, class actions and other matters.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

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