Year 2013 Ends With Rash of Fatal Pedestrian Accidents

Year 2013 was a tragic one for Bay Area pedestrians generally, with San Jose and other municipalities reporting record or near-record numbers of fatal or injury-producing pedestrian incidents. San Jose had 26 fatalities involving a pedestrian or bicyclist, the highest since 1997; San Francisco had 21 pedestrian deaths (more than half of all SF traffic fatalities), the highest since 2007 and continuing an upward trend. Of San Francisco’s 21 pedestrian deaths in 2013, 7 occurred in December. Approximately 50% of all of San Francisco’s traffic related deaths in 2013 were pedestrians. The year ended with several such accidents on the very last day of the year.

On New Year’s eve, a 6-year-old girl (Sophia Lu) was killed, and her mother and brother injured (the mother critically), reportedly as the result of being hit by a right-turning car while the family was lawfully walking in a crosswalk crossing Polk Street at Ellis Street in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood. Astoundingly, the Uber driver, Syed Muzaffar, reportedly [and clearly erroneously] insisted that he was in the right since he had a green light, which indicates an utter lack of understanding of even the basic rules of the road and which, if true, constitutes gross negligence – he was subsequently arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Mr. Muzaffar reportedly had previously been convicted of reckless driving in Florida.

Earlier the same day, in San Francisco, an 86-year-old male pedestrian (San Francisco resident Zhen Guang Ng) was killed by a Ford pickup truck at Rolph and Naples streets in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood – the 69-year-old driver of that vehicle, Giampaolo Boschetti, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. And, in Fremont, a 19-year-old woman (Ashley Capuchin of Diamond Springs) was killed, and the three-month-old baby she was carrying was severely injured, at or near the intersection of Paseo Padre Parkway and Mowry Avenue after being struck by a Ford pickup truck driven by a 64-year-old male.