Witness: Hit-and-Run Driver Fled With Victim in Sunroof, Tried to Toss Booze

The car involved in the crash, post-clean-up. The driver reportedly traveled three blocks after striking the victim, whose legs were sticking out of the sunroof.

A drunk driver who hit a man crossing the street at Valencia Street and Duboce Avenue Sunday continued to drive with the victim hanging head-first inside the sunroof, according to a witness who saw the vehicle stop outside his home on Market at Guerrero Streets.

After continuing for three blocks past the scene of the crash, the driver, 29-year-old Luis Ayala of Redwood City, and his passenger then attempted to “ditch a bunch of booze and bail,” and left “a paper bag with booze a few yards from the car,” said the witness, who declined to be identified.

“The scene was graphic, blood all over the windshield, a lifeless body half in the sunroof with broken legs,” he said.

Even after the initial clean-up, blood could still be found on the rear of the car.

SFPD said Ayala was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, hit-and-run causing injury, and driving with an expired license. The victim, a 26-year-old man whom police haven’t identified, remains hospitalized and is expected to survive, according to KTVU.

These details of the crash differ from the SF Chronicle’s initial report, which didn’t mention that the driver was drunk and initially attempted to flee. Instead, the witness who wrote in to Streetsblog the night of the crash said that the limited reporting has glossed over the horrific reality of the scene and given the impression that the pedestrian was to blame. From the article:

Citizens called police and said the pedestrian ‘ignored the light’ and was hit by a car at the intersection, ending up on its hood, police said. The driver and a passenger stopped after the crash. They were detained pending an ongoing investigation into the circumstances leading up to the collision.

SFPD couldn’t confirm the reports of the car occupants attempting to get rid of their alcohol on the street, which the witness said other neighbors had also seen. Police did confirm the rest of the reported details and reaffirmed that “the pedestrian was jaywalking against a red light at the time of the collision.”

With three westbound traffic lanes on Duboce that encourage drivers to speed, Duboce and Valencia is “a notoriously dangerous intersection,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Schneider. It was among the top eight intersections in the city for traffic injuries, according to the SFMTA’s 2011 Collisions Report [PDF], the most recent one available. Even after the SFMTA re-timed traffic signals “to update pedestrian crossing time and all-red clearance phases,” as the report says, the intersection saw 11 crashes in 2011, with 16 people injured, according to police data. In 2012, a driver heading west on Duboce smashed into a bike corral in the parking lane.

“You don’t have to be an expert to realize that this intersection is deadly,” said Schneider. “That, combined with alcohol and the disregard for human life that this hit-and-run driver demonstrated, create a terrifying combination.”

  • Dark Soul

    Driver fault and Person ( Jay walker) fault ????

  • timsmith

    Police are saying the pedestrian victim crossed against the light, but if we learned anything from the Amelie Le Moullac case, we shouldn’t be too quick to trust SFPD’s version of the story without obtaining video if possible.

  • murphstahoe

    Let’s see.

    Jaywalking ticket and Hit and Run, DUI, attempt to conceal evidence.

    Seems reasonable.

  • murphstahoe

    The witness was probably the driver.

  • timsmith

    Seriously. I just hope the victim of this crash is able to one day able to tell his own version of events.

  • BBnet3000

    Sadly even if they make a full recovery theres a good chance they wont be able to remember all that well.

  • ER

    I know the witness and he definitely is not the driver. Sent me pictures just after the incident.

    Readers of this site should know that information obtained from “witnesses” are probably siding with what streetsblog sides with.

  • SF_Abe

    Good point. Has anyone asked the corner store if they have footage?

  • Indeed, it’s stated in the lede that the witness saw the vehicle stop outside his home.

  • Shiina

    We witnessed it. We were walking on the other side. The pedestrian was trying to opportunistically cross before the traffic hit. He was jaywalking. Having said that, the car was speeding and when the man was hit and flew 10 feet or so before landing on the roof, the driver put his foot on the gas and sped away with guy on roof. We all screamed in shock. We came forward as witnesses when we saw the police on market and testified. I wish more people had come forward then. There were folks that said they saw his shoes fly off….so traumatizing.

  • murphstahoe

    Since that was blocks away from the incident, that is not the “witness” who claimed that the pedestrian was jaywalking

  • Ah, I was confused about which witness you were talking about.

  • murphstahoe

    As our man @pchazz would say – “Is it too much to ask for drivers to be sober, and not hit and run!”

  • Sean Hughes

    I witnessed someone hit by a car and it took three months to remember he actually wasn’t crossing against the light, so much for believing a witness.

  • the_greasybear

    Looking at how damaged the front end of the car is, it appears that
    drunk was driving pretty fast.

  • Wes

    We are all guilty of jaywalking at some point in our lives so please don’t blame the guy who was hit, you think if he knew he was going to get hit that he would have crossed that street??? The driver of the car has no business being behind the wheel , sorry does not cover what you have done , hope he realizes that a car can kill specially more so if you are not sober.

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the pedestrian and family.

  • Shiina

    Hi. I wrote the note above. I witnessed this as it happened on Duboce and Valencia. Then we ran up to Market (following the car) and spoke to the police there. We also saw the guy still on the car. And yes, he did jaywalk because we were on the other side of the street also waiting for the light. And yes, the driver also seemed to be speeding and kept going with the person on the car. The corner store gave footage to the police too. I still wonder what happened to the victim, and if he’s ok….


Pedestrian Struck By Cab Driver at Market and 5th

Onlookers on Market after a crash between a cab and a pedestrian. Photo: Ted Goldberg A pedestrian was struck and seriously injured by the driver of a cab near the intersection of Market and 5th Street this afternoon. Large numbers of onlookers gathered on Market Street following the crash, just after noon today. According to […]