Sheriff’s Cadet Charged in Fatal Pedestrian Crash Pleads Not Guilty

Photo: ABC7

A 23-year-old sheriff’s cadet accused of gross vehicular manslaughter, drunk driving and hit-and-run in the death of a 61-year-old pedestrian on Masonic Avenue and Turk Street earlier this month pleaded not guilty to multiple felony counts in a San Francisco courtroom this morning.

Jose Jimenez, handcuffed and wearing an orange jail jumpsuit, kept his head down most of the time, while about a dozen family members and friends looked on. He is being held on $1 million bail but his attorney, Chris Morales, plans to ask Judge Nancy L. Davis to lower it. A bail hearing has been set for June 3.

Police said a drunk Jimenez was traveling almost twice the speed limit in his white Hyundai when he struck and killed James Hudson in the crosswalk on Masonic at Turk in the early morning hours May 6.  He left the scene and continued on for another thirteen blocks, damaging four cars on Fell and Shrader, and was arrested after crashing into a planter in the parking lot of St. Mary’s Medical Center.

“This tragic case illustrates the dangers of drinking and driving,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement.  “The victim lost his life due to some horrible decisions that we believe were affected by alcohol.”

According to a press release issued late this afternoon by the District Attorney’s press office, Jimenez is charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury, one count of leaving the scene of an accident and one count of hit-and-run driving.

Hudson’s death has intensified calls to redesign Masonic Avenue, a traffic sewer that by its design encourages drivers to speed. Last week, a proposed redesign called the “Boulevard” plan won approval at an SFMTA engineering hearing, and is expected to go before the SFMTA Board soon.

Not many details have emerged about Hudson. Several neighbors, advocates and elected officials came together last week for a vigil in his memory.

Updated: 4:46 p.m.

  • j.d.

     Huh, I’m sure all evidence works against his claim.

  • mikesonn

    Probably just working out a plea deal. They need to extend this as much as possible. 

  • Anonymous

    Amazing that this guy can try to claim he’s not guilty. Seems very similar to Joshua Calder pleading not guilty to killing Nils Linke last year on Masonic:
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2010/08/20/alleged-drunken-driver-pleads-not-guilty-in-cyclist-hit-and-run-death/

    It’s amazing how, if you are driving a car with thousands of pounds of mass and hundreds of horsepower literally at your fingertips and you kill somebody (especially a pedestrian or cyclist) because of your recklessness, you know that our society is so car-centric that you can plead not guilty and actually have a chance of getting away with it. The only way this crap will stop is if we start recognizing the dangers of cars and stop treating them as glorified toys (witness every single advertisement for cars). As Copenhaginze.com points out, cars really need to be regulated like cigarettes. And until we start acknowledging the damage they cause, this will continue to happen.

  • Bob Davis

    I certainly agree that stricter regulation of motor vehicles is a good idea (I know it’s not practical, but how about psychological tests as a prerequisite for a driver’s license?  Let’s weed out the aggressive, the alcoholic and the immature.)   But likening cars to cigarettes doesn’t make sense.  Cars are a means of transportation, not a
     legal drug-of-choice.  It’s similar to the comparison of car licensing to gun licensing; guns are weapons.  Well, cars have been used as weapons, but that’s not their prime purpose.  Guns are designed for putting holes in people, animals or targets (or at least for scaring people); cars are for going from place to place.

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An alleged drunk driver traveling more than double the speed limit on southbound Masonic Avenue at Turk Street struck and killed 61-year-old James Hudson of San Francisco in the crosswalk early this morning. The driver then continued his destructive path for another 13 blocks, according to police, damaging four parked cars along the way before […]