San Francisco Fire Department officials say the crash happened just before 7 a.m. Police say it was caused by a woman who was driving recklessly. San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr says she was going as fast as 80 mph up Pine Street, crossed over all the lanes, went around a bus and rear-ended a minivan waiting at the red light at Pine and Gough. The van went airborne on impact.
"It got bopped, like that, and I watched it flip over. The back part flipped up and it landed on the side," Witness Tanya Smith told ABC7 News.
Smith says she saw a woman get out of a vehicle moments after the collision and police say it was that woman's SUV that rear-ended the minivan. "She got out and she just grabbed her head. It was like she was in shock, like dazed," Smith recalled.
The crash left both vehicles in pieces. "Horrendous. I've never seen anything like it in my life," witness Steve Goddard said.
The woman driving the SUV was not seriously hurt, but the crash critically injured the woman driving the mini-van, as well as her daughter. Her 16-year old son, Kevin San, was killed. Kevin was a student at Lincoln High School in San Francisco's Sunset District.
"I feel so awful for the family," Alicia Kite said Friday. Kite is general manager of James Standfield Catering. Three of her employees were involved in the crash. Their catering truck was in front of the mini-van and got clipped in the collision. They've been at the hospital ever since, but are going to be OK.
"Thirty seconds earlier and they wouldn't have even been a part of this. We wouldn't be here right now and thirty seconds later, they could have been the car right behind them, and it's just devastating," Kite said.
As for the driver of the SUV, investigators say they don't know why she was driving so recklessly. "The high rate of speed the vehicle had been traveling in had been for several blocks. The witnesses, independent witnesses, said they couldn't believe how fast that car was going," said Suhr.
The police chief says officers nearby saw the speeding SUV themselves before the crash, but it was already too late. "The car was going so fast the officer saw the vehicle cross Polk Street, which is two blocks away, and the car was going so fast they didn't have time to activate their lights or sirens to get within a block of it before the crash occurred," said Suhr.
Chief Suhr says the woman who caused the crash will likely face charges because whatever led up to crash, she is responsible for the death of the boy.