Driver charged in fatal Haight-Ashbury hit-and-run back in custody

The man charged in a heartless hit-and-run crash in the Haight that killed a 70-year-old San Francisco woman who had recently retired was back in custody Monday after a judge increased his bail.

Cops say Iddo Avital, 26, was the driver of a Toyota Prius that struck Joyce Lau as she was crossing the intersection at Waller and Cole streets around 8 a.m. on Sept. 2, authorities said. Lau later died in a hospital.

The driver fled, but police said a witness provided a partial license plate number that enabled them to track down the Prius and arrest Avital at his San Francisco residence.

Witnesses were horrified by the brutal collision, saying Lau was knocked clear out of the crosswalk. An employee at a nearby cafe who came upon the scene said he had to take a day off of work to process what he saw.

Family members were shocked and saddened and held a memorial at the crash site the day after the incident. Lau was a longtime San Franciscan who ran a laundromat in the Inner Sunset for almost 30 years and retired last year. During her retirement, she became more involved with “doing God’s work” as a parishioner of a local church.

Avital has pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run charges. Soon after his arrest, he was out of custody after posting $15,000 bail. On Monday, the bail was increased to $75,000 and Avital was remanded into custody, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

A pretrial conference was scheduled for Oct. 13, the DA said.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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