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Two Lost to Reckless Driving in SF: Zachary Watson and Two-Year-Old Girl

6:34 PM PDT on August 18, 2014

Zachary Watson and Mi'yana Gregory. Left photo via Marc Caswell. Right photo via KTVU

Two lives were lost to reckless drivers in SF this weekend: Two-year-old Mi'yana Gregory and 29-year-old Zachary Watson, whose family and friends removed life support after three weeks in the hospital.

Gregory was reportedly run over after she and her family saw a movie on Friday night. The crash occurred on Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets, in a signalized mid-block crosswalk that connects the movie theatre and parking garage. The driver apparently ran a red light and fled the scene, and police have released an image of the 1990s white sedan they are searching for. Family and friends held a vigil on Sunday.

The SF Chronicle reports:

The crosswalk Gregory was killed in. Image: Google Maps

Mi'yana was struck at 10:37 p.m. Friday in the crosswalk midway between Fourth and Fifth streets in the South of Market neighborhood. The crosswalk has its own traffic light to stop cars on the busy stretch of Mission, and family members said Mi'yana, her brother and aunt had the light as they crossed the street, heading toward a parking garage opposite the mall.

On Sunday afternoon, the base of that traffic light became a small shrine of clustered candles and teddy bears. Pictures held by the family showed a beaming girl with braided hair, known to relatives as "My My."

"She was the sweetest little thing," said her father, Michael Gregory, 20. "She liked to dance. She liked 'Sesame Street.' She had a smile that could light up a room."

As he spoke, he held Mi'yana's twin brother, Michael Gregory Jr. "He woke up this morning and asked, 'Where's My My?' " the father said.

A surveillance video image released by SFPD of the vehicle used by the driver who killed Gregory. Image via SF Chronicle

On Saturday, 29-year-old urban data visualizer Zachary Watson died after his life support was removed, following a nearly three-week stay in the hospital. Watson was injured on the sidewalk at Post and Jones Streets on July 28, when 25-year-old Anthony Wisner, evading the police, drove a stolen minivan into a taxi, causing the vehicles to jump the curb and knock over a light pole. Wisner faces ten felony charges, which could be modified by the district attorney in light of Watson's death.

Flowers left by Caswell at the corner where Watson was killed, at Post and Jones Streets. Photo: Frank Chan/Flickr

Watson was apparently walking with his bicycle and may have been hit by the pole, rather than the vehicles. That's based on evidence collected by police and the lack of injuries to below Watson's neck, according to Marc Caswell, who was a friend and former roommate of Watson’s. Even though he was wearing a bicycle helmet, Watson suffered critical head injuries.

It appears Watson was also likely walking down one-way Post Street to avoid riding his bike against the flow of traffic, Caswell said. Earlier, he had attended one his regular swing dance classses at The 9:20 Special, a dance venue.

Watson was known for creating works such as a Stamen Design map of Silicon Valley’s private shuttle network that gained attention in the transportation planning world in 2012.

Caswell made multiple trips from Los Angeles to SF to attend to Watson in the hospital. Watson's friends and family gathered to remove his life support Saturday at 3:14 p.m., to symbolize pi (3.14) and honor his love of math.

"The world has been robbed," said Caswell in a social media post. Watson "became a well-respected data visualization expert whose simple, beautiful work was shared worldwide. Who knows what Zach would have created or solved in the next 40 years."

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