SFPD Arrests Driver for Killing Pui Fong Yim, 78, at Stockton and Sacramento
SFPD arrested an SUV driver, 40-year-old Calixto Dilinila, for killing 78-year-old Pui Fong Yim Lee in a crosswalk Saturday at Stockton and Sacramento Streets, outside the Stockton tunnel.
Witnesses told CBS 5 that Dilinila was making a left turn from Sacramento onto Stockton when he ran Yim Lee over, as she made her way across Stockton during what family members described as her routine daily walk. Dilinila was arrested for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and for failing to yield to a pedestrian.
In January, SFPD’s Traffic Company Commander said a policy change initiated in 2013 allows officers to arrest drivers in fatal crashes where there appears to be “probable cause.” This marked a departure from SFPD’s earlier failure to penalize reckless driving when drivers were neither intoxicated nor fled the scene.
Ever since that policy change, and beginning with two arrests in separate crashes on December 31, four drivers (including Dililina) have been arrested for killing a pedestrian while sober and while also staying on the scene. Out of the 13 pedestrian deaths this year, Dililina is the second such arrestee.
Police Captain David Lazar told reporters that officers are still investigating Saturday’s crash. “We’re going to make a determination as to what signal lights were green, and if there was a red hand up,” he told the SF Chronicle. “On some of the blocks on Stockton Street, the light may be green, but the hand is up.”
Stockton is known to be one of the city’s most dangerous streets to cross — even though it’s the main street through pedestrian-dense Chinatown, which has the lowest rate of car ownership in the city. At Stockton and Sacramento alone, ten pedestrians were injured between 2005 and 2010, including a 74-year-old woman and a 43-year-old person who were severely injured in separate crashes. That’s according to the SF Department of Public Health’s map of high-injury corridors, which city planners have used to guide pedestrian safety improvements on streets like Stockton through the Pedestrian Strategy and WalkFirst plan.
The owner of a photography business near the intersection, who gave his name as Raymond, told KTVU, “I’ve seen six to eight people get killed on the same spot! I told the city so many times they have to do something about it.”
Yim Lee’s daughter-in-law, Susan Lee, told KTVU that she warned Yim Lee to watch out for reckless drivers whenever she heard a news report about a pedestrian death in the city.
“Remember to watch the car when you cross the street,” she would tell her. Yet, as we see time and time again, watching for cars is often not enough to stay alive, so long as streets are designed to move cars quickly, rather than keep people alive.