Bicyclist clings to life after collision

A 27-year-old woman was seriously injured and her dog killed late Sunday night as a hit-and-run driver struck her at what is quickly becoming one of the most dangerous intersections in San Francisco.

The driver of the truck, 40-year-old San Francisco resident Tom Moulas, turned himself in about two hours later at the police station on Bryant Street but has a history of vehicle infractions.

The cyclist was riding eastbound on Market Street she was struck by Moulas’ black, 1997 Dodge pickup truck that was going southbound on Octavia Street toward the freeway onramp, Sgt. Neville Gittens said. The collision occurred just before midnight. The victim suffered life-threatening injuries, including 24 broken bones throughout her body, a collapsed lung and fluid in her chest cavity.

Since the renovated intersection was completed in 2005, after the Central Freeway was torn down, at least 14 pedestrians and bicyclists have been hit, many by cars making illegal right turns onto the freeway onramp. Last year, a truck carrying cement hit cyclist Margaret Timbrell.

The intersection has undergone several safety improvements since. The City placed extra signage at the corner and installed plastic dividers to discourage people from making a right turn off Market Street onto the freeway.

The accident Saturday night did not involve a right turn, however.

Moulas has been booked on charges of hit-and-run causing injury, and police are still investigating whether he broke any laws when he crossed the intersection, according to a police.

The charges aren’t the first Moulas has faced. In the last decade or so, his license has been suspended and he has been accused of other vehicle infractions such as speed contest, although most of the infractions were eventually dismissed. Moulas did plead no contest to a charge of driving under the influence in 2006, court documents show.

Supervisor Bevan Dufty, whose district includes the intersection, said that at dusk on the same night, he witnessed another bicyclecar collision at Eddy and Fillmore streets.

A taxicab made an illegal U-turn at the intersection and hit a bicyclist who wasn’t wearing a helmet, Dufty said. The bicyclist survived the collision and the cabdriver waited at the scene.

A bill by Assemblymember Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, would allow The City to post an automated camera at the Octavia-Market intersection. The bill still must pass the state Senate and the governor.

bbegin@examiner.com

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