Two pedestrians and one vehicle passenger lost their lives in separate car crashes in the last two weeks, marking the last of 19 pedestrian deaths in 2012, and the first two traffic fatalities of 2013.
Yesterday at approximately 8 a.m., 19-year-old driver David Morales of San Francisco was fleeing from police when he crashed into a car at South Van Ness Avenue and 21st Streets, killing an unidentified woman in the car and causing it to slam into a corner store and kill 26-year-old Francisco Gutierrez as he was walking in, according to SFPD spokesperson Gordon Shyy. The driver of the car that was hit was also hospitalized with life threatening injuries, but has since been upgraded to critical condition.
Morales, who was arrested at the scene of the crash (captured in a video here), allegedly fled a traffic stop after police received calls about a shooting at the Valencia Gardens housing complex at 14th and Guererro Streets, according to the SFPD. Morales was charged with two counts of murder for the fatalities caused by the crash, as well as multiple other charges in relation to the shooting.
In a separate crash on December 20 at about 8:50 p.m., 56-year-old Yuee Yao, a visiting Chinese citizen, was killed when she and three others were struck on Christmas Tree Point Road near Twin Peaks by 23-year-old driver Gina Eunice, who was drunk and fled the scene, according to reports. Eunice was caught by police in a nearby parking lot several minutes later and faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, two counts of DUI causing injury, and one count of hit-and-run, according to KTVU.
Yao, who was reportedly walking to get a view of the city with her son and his two friends on a road without a sidewalk, was one of three who were knocked off the road and down a hill. After the crash, “I called their names,” Yao’s son, Kai Yuan, told KTVU. “I heard my friend’s voice, his wife’s voice, but not my mom’s.” Yao, a Chinese citizen, was reportedly visiting San Francisco to help care for Yuan’s newborn son.
In a statement to KTVU, District Attorney George Gascón said, “The defendant’s reckless and callous behavior has cost Ms. Yao her life. Her life has abruptly and tragically been taken away from her family. This is yet another tragedy that illustrates the consequences of drinking and driving.”
Eunice, who plead not guilty, is reportedly held on $2 million bail. If she posts bail, she would be prohibited from drinking or driving.
In yet another hit-and-run crash, at Turk and Lyon Streets on Christmas Day at about 6:05 p.m., a 50-year-old woman was hospitalized with life-threatening head injuries by a driver in a two-door silver car, SF Weekly reported on December 31. We have a request in with SFPD for updates on the woman’s condition and whether or not the driver has been caught.