Driver Kills Ai You Zhou, 77, at Clay and Kearny; Christensen Calls for Action
Yesterday at about 6 p.m., Tim Pak Wong, 59, ran over and killed Ai You Zhou, 77, in the crosswalk at the notoriously dangerous intersection of Clay and Kearny Streets near Chinatown. Safety improvements have been planned for the location, and today Supervisor Julie Christensen called for swifter action on pedestrian safety from the SFMTA and SFPD.
SFPD issued Wong a citation on suspicion of failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk and misdemeanor manslaughter, reports the SF Chronicle.
Zhou appeared to have the walk signal, according to Parker Day, who witnessed the crash from about a block away as he biked toward the intersection. He said Wong was turning left onto Kearny from Clay.
When Day took the photo of the scene above, Zhou “had just stopped breathing and [Wong] was about to pull her out from under the car.”
“It was a terrible thing to witness,” Day added. “I hope I don’t ever see something like it again.”
D3 Supervisor Christensen held a press conference at the site of the crash today to call on the SFMTA to expedite pedestrian safety improvements and the SFPD “to step up enforcement at our problem intersections along our high injury corridors.”
“Last night’s fatality, in conjunction with several other recent collisions, amplifies the need to act quickly on these projects for the safety of our residents and visitors,” Christensen said in a statement.
During the 45-minute press conference at Clay and Kearny, SFPD officers ticketed at least six drivers at the intersection, according to Christensen’s office.
Yesterday’s crash “took the life of one of our community members [and] never should have happened,” said Walk SF Executive Director Nicole Ferrara.
Walk SF has “been working on this intersection for over a year, and trying to build support for changes” with other organizations, said Ferrara.
Last summer, said Ferrara, students in Chinatown conducted a “walk audit” and helped develop plans for “quick, cost effective improvements to that exact intersection.”
The recommended upgrades for the intersection, developed in collaboration with the Chinatown Community Development Center, Chinatown TRIP, and the SF County Transportation Authority, include an exclusive pedestrian crossing phase in all directions, a ban on right turns on red from Kearny to Clay, and painted bulb-outs to slow turning drivers.
“The community is behind” the plans, said Ferrara. “We need to see these improvements in the ground without any delay.”