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Deadly pedestrian accident driver claimed he drove for Uber

The driver involved in a deadly car accident in San Francisco may be a driver with the popular ride service Uber.
January 1, 2014 6:42:42 PM PST
The driver involved in a deadly car accident in San Francisco may be a driver with the popular ride service Uber. That accident on New Year's Eve in the city's Tenderloin neighborhood killed 6-year-old Sofia Liu.

It was one of three pedestrian accidents in San Francisco on Tuesday. A man was killed in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood accident and another woman was injured in the Tenderloin District.

Uber emailed ABC7 News to say, "Our hearts go out to the family." They went onto say, "We can confirm that this tragedy did not involve a vehicle doing a trip on the Uber system. We have asked them to clarify this. We assume that it means there was not a passenger onboard.

Police say the person driving the Honda SUV at the accident identified himself as an Uber driver and was making a right turn Polk and Ellis streets. The accident killed a 6-year-old girl and also injured her mother and her 4-year old brother. The mother and her two children were in the crosswalk.

"We have to remember sometimes people in vehicles aren't paying attention. And so we just have to be diligent as a pedestrian and make sure that the intersection is clear, that the streets are clear," said San Francisco police Lt. Julian Hill.

The driver was arrested. It was one of three San Francisco pedestrian-related accidents in a single day. In the morning, an elderly woman was struck by two cars while she was walking in the crosswalk, also in the Tenderloin District. She survived.

But a few hours later an 86-year-old man was hit and killed in the Crocker-Amazon neighborhood. Police say all of these accidents were caused by distracted drivers.

"You have speeding cars trying to make it through a light, big, wide intersections, a lot of people moving, people turning right and left that can be really dangerous," said Nicole Schneider from Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy group.

The number of pedestrian injuries and deaths in the city has gone up over the years. According to the Pedestrian Safety Project, in 2004 there were 729 pedestrians either injured or killed. Skip to 2012 and that number was 964, that's an average of three a day. The 2013 numbers have yet to be released.

If drivers are sometimes distracted, pedestrians with their mobile devices can be too. John Trotman is a pedestrian we spoke to who acknowledged what he was doing was not safe. He said he was changing the music on his phone.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is working with several city agencies to come up with a plan to reduce pedestrian injuries by 50 percent by 2020.


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