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SFPD Finds Owner of Car in Wiggle Hit-and-Run That Injured 3 Cyclists

SFPD has located the owner of the Jeep Cherokee that was driven in a hit-and-run crash that injured three bike commuters on the Wiggle late Thursday afternoon, though police don't believe the owner was driving at the time.

At around 5:30 p.m., the driver, described by witnesses as a Hispanic woman, plowed through three people on bikes at Scott and Fell after she rear-ended the driver of a Mini Cooper on Fell. The driver reportedly turned left into the oncoming left-turn bike lane on Scott, plowing into the three cyclists. The driver then slammed into a parked car, which was wedged into a garage, as she escaped.

The car, registered in Alameda County, was abandoned in South San Francisco, where police recovered it later that day, said SFPD spokesperson Grace Gatpandan. The owner was found on Friday and taken in for questioning. Police couldn't confirm if the car had been stolen.

According to police and witness reports, two of the victims suffered minor injuries, and another was thrown nearly 20 feet but is expected to survive. Kevin Dole, a member of the SF Bicycle Advisory Committee, said soon after the crash he arrived at the scene, where an "older man" being tended to by paramedics who was in "pretty bad shape."

D5 Supervisor London Breed said the crash "is really sad... It's important that we continue to aggressively move forward to make changes to our infrastructure so that we can do everything we can to hopefully prevent these kinds of things from happening in the future."

Coincidentally, the SFMTA held a hearing on Friday morning on its plan for a sidewalk bulb-out at Scott and Fell that would act as a traffic diverter, blocking car traffic from entering the southbound side of Scott from the Fell intersection. That wouldn't necessarily stop drivers intent on making a reckless getaway, but it would prevent sloppy drivers from making the same movement as in Thursday's crash. The project is expected to be approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors in the coming weeks.

The SFMTA plan for a traffic diverter at Scott and Fell. Image: SFMTA

"I don't know the circumstances of the driver, and what condition she was in, in order to say this could have been avoided or not," said Breed. "It's really unfortunate, but the reality is we're going to do our part in trying to deal with the infrastructure, and we want everyone else to do their part and really be careful out there."

During a Folks for Polk pub talk Thursday, Breed was asked about her efforts to make streets safer, specifically in the context of the crash that had occurred just hours before. "First of all," she began, "let me just say, when you're walking, please pay attention, because you have to also take responsibility for your safety. I have seen some of the almost-hit accidents from people walking, looking at their hand-held devices and sadly, someone driving a car on their hand-held device."

When asked to clarify her comments, Breed said that "regardless of who's at fault, clearly when you're out there walking, you've got to be really careful. There are folks who are driving, walking, and bicycling and not paying attention sometimes. But ultimately, the person who can get hurt the most is the person who's walking."

"I don't know if the driver was under the influence" on Thursday, "or what was going on, but sadly, those things happen, and we just want to make sure we're doing what we can to protect people from getting hurt as a result of people's mistakes on the road."

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