Woman struck and killed by Muni bus

August 19, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
A young woman became the ninth pedestrian fatality in San Francisco in what has become a deadly year. It happened Friday afternoon at 18th and Hartford streets.

Many people stopped to light a candle, lay flowers, say a prayer for the woman killed, who has yet to be identified. The real tragedy is that the woman almost made it to the curb before she was hit by the bus.

A Muni shuttle bus was traveling at a slow speed as it took a left turn here from 18th Street onto Hartford according to police. A woman was crossing Hartford at the same time.

"She was in the crosswalk. At this point we believe that she was 95-percent of the way across the street when the left side of the bus contacted her," said San Francisco Police Sgt. Michael Andraychak.

Ryan Brody was across the street when the accident occurred. He said, "We saw a victim sort of being pulled out of the bus and then they were wrapping her. Obviously it seemed like she had passed away."

The woman believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s died at the scene. San Francisco police and Muni investigators sorted through the scene for hours. Witnesses say the Muni driver was visibly shaken as they saw him exit the bus. Police placed him in a patrol car.

"The driver remained on scene, he is cooperating with investigators, and as part of the policy he will be tested for any signs of impairment," said Andraychak.

Police say he didn't immediately exhibit any signs that he was impaired.

This is the ninth pedestrian fatality in San Francisco this year. Elizabeth Stampe of Walk San Francisco says that's nine too many.

"Every year over 800 people are hit by cars in San Francisco. We really need to have safer streets. When this many people get hit by cars, that's just not OK," said Stampe.

Ironically police say the bus would not normally have been taking this turn on Hartford.

"It was taken out of service to supplant F-line trolleys, they had a higher than usual passenger riding, so they took that bus out of service to supplant those lines, and the driver was on his way to the bus stop on 17th and Castro to begin that route," said Andraychak.

SFMTA director of transportation, Edward Reiskin, issued a statement saying, "I express our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the pedestrian killed in the traffic accident this afternoon involving a Muni bus."

Last year, by October, there were only six fatalities. According to Transportation for America, a pedestrian advocacy group, they say San Francisco ranks first in California for pedestrian fatalities.

Friday's accident will be investigated by San Francisco Police Department's hit and run detail. The results of that investigation won't be available for some time.

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