EXCLUSIVE: Witness describes saving woman trapped under Cruise car after being hit by another driver

ByPamela Parker, Brandon Behle KGO logo
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
EXCLUSIVE: Witness describes saving woman trapped under Cruise car
In an exclusive to ABC7 News, Lee Goins, a witness to the accident that saw a woman trapped under a Cruise autonomous vehicle in San Francisco after being hit by a human-driven car tells us what happened that night.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC7 News, a bus driver is detailing how he helped save a woman trapped under a driverless Cruise car after she was struck by a hit-and-run driver in San Francisco.

Lee Goins, a paratransit driver who was on his last run of his shift on Oct. 3, told us not only did he call 911 and stay by the woman's side to keep her alive, but he also talked to the hit-and-run driver before he fled.

RELATED: CA DMV suspends Cruise driverless car permits amid public safety concerns

Goins, who also goes by the name "Timbuktu," said he first noticed the tennis shoes before he realized there was a person under a vehicle.

"I was coming down Market Street when I looked to my left, I saw tennis shoes in the street. And then as I moved I looked and I saw a Cruise automobile, one of these driverless vehicles with a body underneath it," Goins says.

As he arrived on the scene, he talked to the driver of a green Honda car who stopped next to the Cruise vehicle.

"Once I stepped into the lane, there was a person standing in a green car I noticed, stepped up to me. He was dressed in black with a hat on, he stepped up to me and said the person was walking in front of the vehicle. At that time, I didn't know what he meant by his vehicle or the Cruise vehicle. But I was like in a twilight zone, my mind was focused on the vehicle with a body underneath it and I kind of like ignored him and walked towards the vehicle and looked down to see what was going on," he says.

Goins then laid on the floor to talk to the person trapped under the car and was able to confirm that the person was still alive.

RELATED: Woman injured after being struck by SF hit-and-run driver, trapped under autonomous car, Cruise says

"I stood, backed up and there were three people on the sidewalk and the gentleman by the car. I yelled 'anybody call the police?' And he told me no. Immediately I grabbed my phone and I started dialing 911. Within a second, I got a response and I explained to them that a body or person is underneath a Cruise car, the person is bleeding and we need to get an ambulance here at Fifth and (Market) Street," Goins says.

When he heard sirens and saw the police starting to arrive, the driver of the hit-and-run car fled.

"All of a sudden I heard sirens coming so I got up and I turned around. I saw police coming down the other side of the street towards me. And the person in the green car, moved the car and I had to jump back. Like he almost hit me and I said, "What are you doing?'"

The driver replied, "I'm moving out the way."

Goins thought he was making space to let the police cars move into the scene, but little did he know, that driver took off.

RELATED: Why Cruise is keeping half of its driverless fleet off the streets of SF

Goins said he did what he could to keep the trapped woman calm.

"I knew and realize sometimes people could be in shock and I know people going into shock, they might die from that," said Goins.

He said the surreal scene played out "like something out of a Halloween movie" for him.

"It's amazing that she's still living because that was ugly. I even cried about seeing that," Goins said.

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