Charges on Hold for DUI Driver Who Killed Man on Bayshore at the Hairball

The SF District Attorney’s office has put charges on hold against the driver who killed pedestrian Francisco Huarcha-Salanic, 31, on Bayshore Boulevard on the dangerous junction with Highway 101 known as the “Hairball.”

The approximate area where Francisco Huarcha-Salanic was killed by driver Caitlin Rea. Photo: Google Maps

The driver, 25-year-old Caitlin Rea, was arrested for driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing Huarcha-Salanic at 12:40 a.m. on September 21, according to SFPD spokesperson Michael Andraychak. The crash occurred about 60 feet south of the point where several ramps merge together onto southbound Bayshore from eastbound Cesar Chavez Street and southbound Potrero Avenue.

However, as Bay City News reported on SF Appeal today, prosecutors “discharged” the case on September 28, pending further investigation. “Once further investigation has been completed, we will charge the case accordingly,” DA spokesperson Alex Bastian told Streetsblog. (Note: SF Appeal’s headline had originally stated that the DA wouldn’t charge the driver, but it was later corrected to reflect that the charges were only put on hold.) Bastian said he couldn’t comment on the investigation.

The existing means for pedestrians to cross the Hairball. Image from the SF Planning Department's Cesar Chavez East Community Design Plan

While we don’t know why Huarcha-Salanic was crossing the road in the area, the Hairball is widely considered one of the city’s most dangerous and difficult areas for pedestrians to traverse. Crossing it from Bayshore requires pedestrians to make an extensive detour, and the crosswalks that do exist provide far from any guarantee of safety. The distance between the two nearest crosswalks on Bayshore, located at Cesar Chavez and Oakdale Avenue, is roughly half a mile, judging by Google Maps.

The Planning Department’s Cesar Chavez East Community Design Plan, released in February, is intended as a guide for a long-term re-envisioning of the Hairball and the eastern section of Cesar Chavez, but it doesn’t recommend adding any pedestrian crossings on Bayshore.

  • Dan at BCN

    BCN didn’t ever report that charges were dropped, that was just an SF Appeal headline on our story that they later corrected

  • Anonymous

    Who the HELL keeps naming parts of The City.  Damn Hipsters stop already. Hairball…really?

  • Ok, I modified the sentence to reflect that (see above). Hope that’s accurate.

  • mikesonn

    This isn’t SFist.

  • Still no mention in the _Chron_.  If Rea had killed a pedestrian while biking sober, we’d be heading into the second solid week of daily articles about the incident.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention inane and sickening comments from the peanut gallery which people would never say in person but can say when hidden in anonymity.

  • Anonymous

    I despise this intersection, especially since I have to deal with it daily. I can’t believe we ever thought it was good urban design to build such a dangerous, unlivable mess. I don’t know what happened with this pedestrian, but it’s ridiculous that we slapped this monstrosity smack into the middle of a city and didn’t think it would have consequences.

    One of my biggest complaints that could easily be fixed overnight is the timing of the pedestrian crosswalk signals. You hit the button to cross, and you have to wait forever for the light to change. It sends a clear message that cars have absolute priority and pedestrians and cyclists are barely tolerated. Why can’t the city at least make pedestrians and cyclists not feel like they are complete second-class citizens and at least make this signals respond quickly?

  • KillMoto

    In the time I wait between hitting the button, and the red for motorists/walk signal for me, I throw rocks at cars.  Rest assured, they never stop. 

  • VCS

    Even in terms of auto-oriented traffic engineering, this junction is ridiculously overbuilt. High-speed ramps to/from Bayshore and Portero are simply not needed now, regardless of what they thought in the 1950s. A lot of drivers have difficulty with the hairpin turns too.

    Rebuild it so Army and Portero/Bayshore meet in a nice level intersection, then add some standard diamond ramps, and it would look a lot nicer and work better for everyone. 

  • VCS

    For anyone interested — Here’s some Caltrans propaganda about US101/Army version 1.0. To me this looks way better than the final product.

    Modern traffic engineers would probably put a modified “SPUI” here. In any case, there’s many suburban junctions which handle this traffic without deep undercuts and spaghetti ramps.

  • Anonymous

    I read on a highway blog that a Southern Crossing of the bay was planned that would have extended the Grove Shafter Fwy in Oakland west through Alameda and across the bay to the Cesar Chavez interchange on 101. The ramps there were constructed for a freeway that was never built.

  • When officials need to “discharge” a case involving an obviously at-fault drunk driver due to the complexity of road structures, then it is clear the city’s planning and development have at least in some part, failed. 


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