SFPD Arrests Driver for Manslaughter for Killing Man on Sunset Boulevard

Photo: CBS 5

The SFPD has arrested, cited, and released a driver for killing 78-year-old Isaak Berenzon as he crossed Sunset Boulevard at Yorba Street in the Outer Sunset Tuesday at about 11 a.m. This is the third known instance of the SFPD arresting a driver who killed a pedestrian, and wasn’t drunk or fleeing the scene, since New Year’s Eve. Previously, such drivers typically faced no legal penalties.

Jenny Ching, 71, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and cited for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk, police told the SF Chronicle:

Berenzon was walking east across Sunset Boulevard at Yorba Street in or near a crosswalk just before 11 a.m. when Ching, traveling south, hit him with a Toyota Corolla, police said.

The road has three lanes in each direction, separated by a median. The crosswalk near where Berenzon was struck features warning lights that flash when a pedestrian hits a button to cross, but police have not said whether the lights were in use at the time of the crash.

Berenzon was pronounced dead at the scene. Ching and her two passengers were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Berenzon’s death was the latest in a string of pedestrian fatalities in San Francisco. Twenty-one pedestrians were killed in the city in 2013, and another was fatally struck Jan. 7.

The district attorney’s office filed a misdemeanor manslaughter charge in a recent case. Giampaolo Boschetti, 69, of San Francisco is awaiting trial for striking and killing 86-year-old Zhen Guang Ng of San Francisco in a crosswalk in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood on New Year’s Eve day.

Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the district attorney, said Ching’s case had not been presented to prosecutors.

Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider said the organization is “proud of SFPD’s leadership in enforcing traffic laws, and telling the public that killing someone (even when behind the wheel of a vehicle) is a crime.” Still, she said, “We’re also disappointed to have lost yet another life to this notoriously dangerous street,” and called upon city leaders to implement Vision Zero ”and fix these known dangerous streets, until everyone from our children to our grandparents can walk without fear.”

SFPD Chief Greg Suhr told CBS 5 the incident was a “horrible collision” and said ”everybody needs to slow down, chill, take an extra second to get where you’re going and pay attention.”