SFPD: No Charges for Trucker Who Killed Woman, 91, on Fillmore Street

Police have declared no wrongdoing on the part of a cement truck driver who ran over and killed a 91-year-old woman on Fillmore at California Street last Thursday afternoon. According to reports, the woman was crossing Fillmore mid-block, in front of the stopped truck, when the driver began driving forward and ran her over. She was taken to SF General Hospital where she died of her injuries:

Image: KTVU

Investigators found that the truck driver, who stayed at the scene and cooperated with officers, was not at fault, [SFPD Sergeant Eric] Mahoney said. The driver had just crossed through the intersection at California Street when he came to a stop behind a couple of other vehicles, according to police. As the other vehicles started moving again, the woman stepped in front of the truck and was hit.

Of the four other drivers who have killed pedestrians in San Francisco this year, the SFPD has cited three, except one who fled and evaded police.

SFPD won’t cite or charge the driver in this case because, as Mahoney told KTVU, he “did not do anything to violate the vehicle code.” The victim was apparently jaywalking (an offense which, as the BBC recently pointed out, was invented by the American auto industry, and is not illegal in most countries, including the UK)

There are, however, two sections of the CA vehicle code that the driver may have violated.

The cement truck was partially blocking the crosswalk after the driver hit the woman. Image: KTVU
The cement truck was partially blocking the crosswalk after the driver hit the woman. Image: KTVU

CVC Section 21954 is the clause that requires pedestrians to yield to vehicles when crossing outside of a crosswalk, but it also says, “The provisions of this section shall not relieve the driver of a vehicle from the duty to exercise due care for the safety of any pedestrian upon a roadway.”

In addition, CVC Section 22106 says a driver may not “start a vehicle stopped, standing, or parked on a highway… until such movement can be made with reasonable safety.”

KTVU footage also shows the truck stopped with its rear encroaching on the crosswalk, indicating that the trucker could have been blocking it when the woman attempted to cross.

What it comes down to is this: Does the SFPD really believe this truck driver, before stepping on the pedal, exercised all due care to look for people crossing a bustling, two-lane shopping street like Fillmore?

  • gneiss

    You obviously don’t see the round mirror on the front left. It points down toward the front of the vehicle to provide the driver with a field of view directly below them.

    While this vehicle might have blind spots, it has significantly fewer of them then the conventional trucks that we use in the United States. As for costs, we spend billions putting in air bags seat belts and other safety features inside of cars to protect their occupants. Why can’t we do the same for people who happen to be outside of them?

  • gneiss

    Also, let me point out that the DOT estimates the cost of an additional year of human life to be $6 million when making judgments relating to traffic deaths http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/business/economy/17regulation.html?_r=1 That would pay for approximately 60 trucks per death. And this isn’t based on my say so. It’s based on what’s happening in places where they are trying to reduce deaths from heavy trucks like many European countries.

    Please get your ‘facts’ straight before thinking I don’t have mine available.

  • Upright Biker

    Who said they needed to scrap their fleet, @FL ? Replace them by attrition with better trucks. That’s not ignorance at it’s best, it’s good business.

    And good karma. But I can see that’s too costly in your world.

  • Witness

    Truth from first hand witness = car in front of truck made illegal 3 point turn to secure a parking spot, forcing the truck to suddenly halt. Tall truck style did not allow driver to see victim who was crossing directly in front of truck therefore if the driver looked carefully he would not have seen the victim. This tragedy is the fault of the careless driver in the car in front of truck that decided it was more important to make an illegal maneuver to get a parking spot. Drivers like the car in front of the truck should stop making these stupid and SELFISH decisions and realize a parking spot is not worth the loss of a life.

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