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

Photo: Adam Singer/Twitter

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.”

Photo: Adam Singer/Twitter
  • Thank you London for reminding pedestrians that cars belong everywhere and pedestrians are ultimately responsible for getting out of the way of naturally occurring street steel. And while the city continues to add some cement and paint here and there, cars are to stay and they will be on every street in San Francisco for decades to come!

  • Mesozoic Polk

    We cannot expect two-ton machines barreling recklessly down the street in a pedestrian-filled environment that was not designed for such machines in the first place to slow down in response to the humanity surrounding them. Those drivers have important places to be, unlike pedestrians meandering aimlessly while posting to Snapchat and Instagram. Or, you know, commenting on blogs.

  • A driver who rear-ends another car, plows over three bicyclists in a bike lane, hits a parked car, and then flees did not just make a “mistake.” This was criminal recklessness at the very least.

    Although I generally think Ms. Breed has good intent on livable streets issues, her bending backwards not to assign fault to the driver, her belief “that these things just happen,” her bringing up distracted walkers as the source of car collisions, and her postulation that “regardless who is at fault” car collisions are best prevented by non-drivers paying more attention shows a deep bias towards blaming the victim and exculpating drivers. In this particular crash, only a highly trained acrobat on full alert could have leapt off his/her bike and vaulted out of the way in time to escape injury.

    While I’m sure it would make San Francisco a more amusing city if only alert acrobats were allowed to walk or bicycle on our streets (avoiding careening cars with dexterous somersaults and back handsprings), I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect this proficiency from the average citizen.

  • gneiss

    Just a few streets away on that same afternoon, three gunshots were fired http://hoodline.com/2015/04/driveby-shooting-near-church-and-market-safeway. I don’t think anyone in the police department or elected Supervisors are saying that the incident was “unfortunate”, speculating whether or not the situation could be “avoided”, or attempting to determine the state of mind of the shooter. Nor is anyone suggesting that we don’t forget to wear our bullet proof vents and look out for people shooting guns from cars when we go out in public.

    Sheesh – Supervisor Breed – why is reckless behavior with a car just “unfortunate” and should be accepted as part of city living but gun violence isn’t?

  • dat

    No no no… this was just a tragic, unavoidable accident. I doubt the driver even is aware that they struck anyone. Wait until they are apprehended…. “Oh, I didn’t know that I hit anyone…”

  • Mike

    What a colossal mistake the people of D5 made electing this charlatan.

  • jd_x

    Exactly what I was going to say. She didn’t say one damn word about saying how this drive would be brought to justice. Nope, as apparently this is just the price we all have to pay to make sure it’s as convenient as possible for motorists to get around in 2-ton cars with hundreds of horsepower, distracted operators, and spewing carbon emissions and pollution into the air.

    So sick of this bias towards automobiles ….

  • Hey you leave her and government issued free car and parking, alone!

  • Gary Fisher

    London, dear London, do you know how cars took over? I know they were here before you, and seem sorta “natural”. There not, They will go out of cities soon. This will take some time, but you need the background. Our dear city has got the slows and the lames. It’s killin us in more ways than one! Other cities all over the world are pulling ahead. One thing your not is dumb. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2JQWRAoL0vk

  • Sprague

    I agree that motorists too often are held to a lower standard and are too rarely advised to be cautious as they drive. At least, to her credit, Supervisor Breed seems to recognize the importance of making “changes to our infrastructure…”

  • M.

    Were you the one dancing on the bar after Breed’s comments, Bobby?

  • M.

    “…pay attention, because you have to also take responsibility for your safety. I have seen some of the almost-hit accidents…” As lucid an illustration of denial as it gets. This comment was made before anyone at the Pub Talk knew the details of what happened, other than the location, that several people were hurt, and that it was a hit-and-run.

    Good street design could have mitigated the likelihood of this happening, but it’s a fantasy that our fates are in our hands. We can travel our streets like skittish, paranoid rabbits and still get hit. I was hit while being responsible, law-abiding, wearing bright red and fluouro orange, on a flat straightaway on a clear sunny day at noon. What failed was the road design and the driver’s judgement.
    After the street engineering is state-of-the-art; driver ed is on a par with countries that require 100s of hours of supervised driving before anyone can hit the accelerator; older drivers are vetted for physical ability and can access safe and affordable age-in-place living; and the driver dominator culture changes, it’s just lunacy to suggest ‘Be careful out there’ is an adequate response to any street violence. That includes you, Mesozoic Polk and Bobby G. ;-p

  • M.

    :-p

  • Cyclists should stay on the sidewalk where they belong. Here’s SFPD to show you how: https://youtu.be/27YF3UIM0lo

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