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Hit-and-Run

Truck Driver Runs Over, Drags Tenderloin Pedestrian in Another Fatal Crash

A pedestrian was run over at Mason and Eddy early Thursday morning by the driver of a big-rig truck, and dragged to Market and 5th. KPIX is reporting the victim, who later died, was Michael Stevens, 54.

From a statement from Walk San Francisco:

We are heartbroken to learn of a crash this morning that killed a pedestrian. The details we know so far are horrific: the victim was dragged several blocks by a large commercial big rig truck; the vehicle’s driver fled the scene but has since been detained. Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s family. We mourn the loss of a community member to senseless and preventable traffic violence. Walk San Francisco and members of the San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets stand ready to support the victim’s family and friends however possible.

And from the San Francisco Police:

...at approximately 5:42 a.m. San Francisco Police officers responded to the intersection of Market Street and 5th Street for a vehicle collision involving a pedestrian. Officers located an adult male with traumatic injuries in the middle of the intersection. He was transported to [the hospital] with life threatening injuries. He was later pronounced dead... Preliminary information is that pedestrian was struck by a semi-tractor pulling a flatbed trailer at Mason Street and Eddy Street and was dragged to the intersection of 5th/Market (approximately two blocks). The operator of the tractor-trailer left the area in the vehicle. A description of the vehicle was obtained by responding SFPD officers who broadcast the information over police radio.

Officers located the vehicle on Broadway Street near Front Street at approximately 7:35 a.m., the police went on to report. "The vehicle and driver were detained. Investigators from the SFPD Traffic Collision Investigation Unit (TCIU) responded to the scene and then met with the driver of the tractor-trailer. The driver is cooperating with the investigation."

The corner of Mason and Eddy, where the collision first occurred. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
The corner of Mason and Eddy, where the collision first occurred. Photo: Streetsblog/Rudick
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As Walk San Francisco's Jodie Medeiros pointed out in a prepared statement about the crash, this horrific incident was likely preventable. “We have a crisis on our streets with traffic safety, and the huge influx of not just cars, but also service and delivery trucks, put all of us as pedestrians at greater risk every day.”

“Trucks are deadly,” Medeiros added. “The size of trucks, the fact that they can drag a victim, poor visibility, and that the higher front end makes crashes more severe… all of this is a deadly combination.”

In Europe and Asia, trucks have side guards to help prevent crushing a cyclist or pedestrian. "New York City will soon require city vehicles over 10,000 pounds and private garbage trucks to have side guards," wrote Medeiros. "San Francisco should pursue this, as well as rethink which streets should allow very large freight vehicles in the first place. And there is much more that can be done, which many European cities are implementing in support of Vision Zero."

09 February 2010 Marsh Mills Plymouth
A big-rig in the U.K. Note the side-guards between the front and back wheels of the trailer, to prevent someone from getting dragged underneath.
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San Francisco lawmakers need to check out Streetsblog NYC's coverage on mandating side guards on trucks. It's a simple fix that can save lives.

"Service and delivery vehicles have been part of many severe and deadly traffic crashes on our streets this year. Galina Alterman was hit and killed while crossing at Divisadero and Sutter on May 1 by a driver in a service truck," Medeiros continued. "Tess Rothstein was crushed under a box truck while riding her bike on March 8 at Howard and 6th. In late February, a man was hit at Howard and 1st and dragged under a box truck (the victim survived)."

Furthermore, the corners of Eddy and Mason lack sidewalk bulbouts, which shorten pedestrian crossings and reduce the likelihood of collisions. As Streetsblog has previously noted, Tenderloin safety improvements have often lagged. Nearly every street in the Tenderloin is a "high-injury corridor" (the 13 percent of San Francisco’s streets that account for 75 percent of the city’s severe traffic injuries and fatalities). Streetsblog has an inquiry out to SFMTA to find out if improvements are planned for Eddy and Mason and will update this post accordingly.

The section of Market Street and Eddy where the crash occurred was reopened at 11:30 a.m.

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