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