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.