Sena Putra, 47, Killed by Truck Driver at 13th and Folsom

Photo: Google Maps via ##

Forty-seven year-old Sena Putra was killed by the driver of a gasoline tanker last Thursday at 13th and Folsom Streets under the Central Freeway. He is the seventh pedestrian killed in the city this year.

According to the SF Chronicle, police said Putra was in a crosswalk on 13th Street at 12:55 p.m., crossing with the green light, when the northbound truck driver turned right and hit him. The driver stopped and “cooperated with investigators.” No arrests or citations have been reported. It’s unclear how fast the driver was going and why he or she failed to yield to Putra.

Putra was returning from lunch to his job as an accountant for UCSF’s Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital, according to the Chronicle. He had just become a U.S. citizen after emigrating from Indonesia almost 10 years ago. Colleagues told the Chronicle he was looking forward to voting in the U.S. for the first time.

Under the shadow of the Central Freeway, 13th Street is dominated by high-speed motor traffic that divides SoMa and the Mission. Many neighbors have lamented the reconstruction of the traffic-inducing freeway less than ten years ago at the insistence of Caltrans, despite the city’s proposal to replace it with a street-level boulevard.

“The biggest tragedy is that this could have been prevented if this city prioritized safe streets for walking,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe. “This intersection and the whole area are built around freeways, not around people. But people still need to cross, just like Sena Putra did.”

“It’s time to put people’s safety first.”

Pedestrians rush across 13th Street at Mission (where it becomes Duboce Avenue). Photo: Aaron Bialick
  • Timg

    Outrageous! 13 pedestrian deaths.  What is San Francisco doing to make sure this was the last?

  • Call it an “unfortunate accident”.

  • Although I don’t know the exact nature of this incident, trucks and buses make wide right turns. The driver would not have a direct vision if the side of the vehicle has hit the person as the rear portion of the vehicle turn close to the curb. I have seen a close call as the truck wanted to beat the pedestrian and make the turn quickly. I had to tell others to step back to the curb as the rear portion of the vehicle swept close to the curb, even though the cab was at the outer lane, thereby giving some people a false impression that we can start crossing the street.

  • Then a large gasoline tanker truck shouldn’t be on this street mid-day and the driver should take extra caution given blind spots, wide turning radius, etc. The responsibility for safety in a big city like ours is with the truck driver.

  • Anonymous

    +1 to Mark

    Truck drivers are supposed to be pros – driving for a living.

    If a truck driver is “trying to beat a pedestrian” he is in the wrong line of work

  • Robert Kolbe

    —-   So very sad. And beyond this tragedy is the “quality of life” of residents of the City who do not own cars. Daily as I walk to and from work I am threatened by those who could care less about San Francisco residents. I don’t do the car game; I learned that a long time ago. 

  • Anonymous

    @61eed446bb06348452d72906ce24cc60:disqus Making sure all our focus is directed at two fatalities of pedestrians caused by bicyclists in the last 5+ years so we can continue to ignore the 120+ caused by cars.

  • maaaty

    I CAN’t BELIEVE ANOTHER CYCLIST HAS KILLED A HUMAN BEING.  Oh, oh, wait.  Never mind.  Just an accident.  Nothing to see here folks, nothing to see except for a city layout done by some kid with an abundance of Hot Wheels tracks.


  • Cars often try to beat pedestrians as well, except that they don’t present the hidden danger of wide turns. Truck drivers are taught to look at the mirrors often when turning to make sure that the truck is clear and not hitting the curb and what not. Of course what the drivers remember or practice is a different issue.

    Some car drivers thought that they can beat the truck and try to turn and
    pass the truck on the right, but got hit on the side as the truck body swept closer
    to the corner.

    As much as the truck driver need to practice safe driving, we need to be cautious regarding these vehicles so we don’t get caught in the turn. If for whatever reason the truck is making a turn before we start crossing, we need to stay inside the curb until the truck completes the turn.

  • mikesonn

    Don’t right turning vehicles have to yield to pedestrians?

    Andy, I understand you need to protect/apologize for large vehicles as you own a shuttle service, but I hope your drivers don’t take the same “blame the victim” stance as you.

  • J282sf

    There are a lot of people who cross at this intersection b/c Rainbow and Foods Co. grocery are just to the south side. I walk this intersection all the time and I know I have to be very very careful.

  • 94103er

    Yeah, really! What a bizarre, apologetic bit of rationalization. The NTSB should pull these trucks off the road “immediately” and impose mandatory camera/sensor installation. These are professional drivers killing human beings, for christ’s sake.

  • Right turning vehicles do have to yield to pedestrians. But there are instances that vehicles are turning before the pedestrians. I am just confirming reality.

    – Vehicles begin turning right on red and the light turns green before the turn is completed.
    – Pedestrians at the other side of a wide crossing.
    – Vehicles turn right on green without pedestrians nearby, but they come before the turn is completed. Many pedestrians cross during the flashing hand countdown.
    – Vehicles that failed to yield when they should.

    I strongly disagree that any reasonable caution (including look both ways) is considered “blame the victim.” Sure, burglary is illegal, does it mean the recommendation to lock your house is “blame the victim?” I think it is naive to walk on the street willy-nilly and think that the law is sufficient to protect you from human factors and physics. I practice defensive walking so when I walk and see cars at certain spots, I expect certain behaviors coming off of them and avoid to be in the path if I can.

    Safety is my priority, so I do not practice nor approve actions that put pedestrians and cyclists in danger.

  • Ridiculous.  I just sent an email to the District Attorney, and will follow up with a letter.

  •  Andy – those situations you posit, it is the driver’s responsibility to be able to handle them. A defensive walker might survive a bad driver but that does not mean that the driver is not unskilled.

    Driving is a difficult task that requires one’s full attention. If you can’t do so, you shouldn’t be driving. Period.

    You are summarizing the attitude prevalent around America that driving is a task that can be taken lightly and if some difficult condition occurs, far be it from you to be able to handle that situation, and in fact the most important response to difficult road conditions is to get a bigger car and airbags and what not so that if you are not competent enough to prevent a crash, you survive.

    You are absolutely blaming the victim. If a burglar gets in via my unlocked door, he was still a burglar.

  • Then it is mainly a difference in philosophy. My philosophy is that we need to learn and be aware of certain vehicle behaviors and take reasonable steps in avoid them. Not to suggest that drivers should violate the law or not be careful, it is just I don’t trust them enough (because they are humans too and I am not going to be dismissive about it by saying that only the perfect should drive) and that I don’t believe in beating physics. I don’t know what your philosophy is but it seems like that pedestrians shouldn’t have to know about anything because the law should be sufficient.

    In case of the burglary example, yes it is still a burglary, but if you don’t take reasonable precaution such as locking your door, you might not get compensated by insurance. Also the point is to prevent burglaries from happening, rather than let it happen and try to point finger afterwards.

  • Conservative – Lock the door.

    Liberal – Get the burglar a good, real job, so he doesn’t have to be a thief.

    This is the debate for our times, n’est pas?

  • A block away: In summer 1990 I had the green as a cyclist going south on Valencia… crossing Duboce. A car which had just come off the freeway and then around the curve was accelerating as it prepared to go up the hill towards Safeway… smack! Plop! Across the street from Zeitgeist plus 12 ft further I landed on my wrist, head and knee. Bike was toast…

    Almost 22 years ago. Has anything changed at this intersection since then?

  • Aside from a general (radical) redesign, I believe that “in Holland” the motor vehicles, bikes and pedestrians would all have at least partially-dedicated turn or crossing signals at a major intersection like this. 

    But that might be against whatever is recommended in the second-class “state-of-the-art” NACTO design guide.

  • Delays due to accidents and offenses may not only eliminate the popularity of the transportation organization but may also cost your organization a lot because of loss and decrease of life or items. Also, simple offenses may impact your information and routine of transport especially if the items you’re managing are disposable and need on time transport. 

  • Seattle guy

    Rest in Peace my Friend, Sena Putra.

  • Kevin

    Dear Sena,
    so sorry you left us so tragically,  Will always love you, Rest in Peace very
    dear friend. Your old friend in Chicago.  Kevin

  • Mark

    I walk through this intersection every day. It’s a death trap. Pedestrians crossing 13th Street are obscured by huge pillars so that cars turning left often slam on their brakes as they round the pillars into the crosswalk. I don’t know the particulars of this accident, but San Francisco seriously needs a) more left turn arrow signals, and b) ban right turns on red lights. Slowing traffic down would be worth the cost in saved lives.

  • Anonymous

    left turn arrows and/or NO LEFT TURN.


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