Media reports initially quoted family members saying Gage had the walk signal when she crossed Mission in the crosswalk between Fourth and Fifth Streets, with Gregory and her twin brother in tow. The SFPD now says Gage was crossing against the signal, had left Gregory in the street unattended to retrieve her brother from the sidewalk, and that the driver had a green light.
“The investigation showed some evidence that there was some child neglect that resulted in the death of the two-year-old toddler,” SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza told KTVU.
On the day of the arrest, SFPD Sergeant John Bragagnolo targeted citations towards “jaywalking” pedestrians at the crosswalk where Gregory died, telling KTVU he pointed to Gregory’s memorial when ticketing them.
“Pedestrians feel their speed and their hurry is more important than their safety,” Bragagnolo said.
Putting aside generalizations about the feelings of people who walk, this is an unusual case among pedestrian crashes: The SFPD’s data show that the top five causes are all driver violations, which the SFPD has pledged to focus enforcement on. In May, however, we reported that although SFPD’s “Focus on the Five” citations were reportedly increasing, its tickets issued to people walking and biking were increasing far faster. After a peak of 723 citations issued to pedestrians in March [PDF], the monthly number dropped at 444 in June [PDF], the latest month for which citation data has been reported.
Police say it’s unclear whether the driver who caused Gregory’s death was even aware he or she had run over an infant.
Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Scheider said “it’s a really challenging case, in that the arrest is broader than just an issue of pedestrian safety at this point.”