Elderly woman struck, killed by car on Geary

An elderly Asian woman died Tuesday afternoon after a black Chevrolet sedan struck her on Geary Boulevard across from St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The death marks the 22nd pedestrian to die on the streets of The City this year, a particularly deadly year for seniors and a sharp increase from the 2006 pedestrian fatalities.

At approximately 1:25 p.m., an elderly Asian woman was attempting to cross Geary Boulevard between Gough and Laguna streets when a Chevy sedan hit her, sending the woman 40 feet down the heavily traveled thoroughfare, according to witnesses.

The woman was transported from the scene to San Francisco General Hospital where she died at 2:20 p.m., according to police.

As of press time, the San Francisco chief medical examiner did not release her name and age.

San Francisco police Officer Matt Faliano said at the scene that the woman was jaywalking across Geary when she was struck and there was no early indication that the driver was speeding at the time of the collision.

M. Jernigan, who witnessed the collision while driving, said the woman was in the street when she was struck.

“The lady was trying to make it across the street, and he just plowed into her,” Jernigan said. “He knocked the lady all up in the air.”

It appeared the car had “ample time” to hit the brakes but did not, Jernigan said.

The woman is at least the fourth senior to die on The City’s streets this year. On Aug. 19, 77-year-old Roger Tennyson was hit by a car after parking on Sanchez Street in the Castro. Eighty-three-year-old Marina Vafiadis died Aug. 14 after being hit by a Muni bus on Park Presidio at Balboa Street, and Kenji Suzuki, 69, was hit by a Muni bus while crossing Fillmore Street at Geary.

According to police, 22 pedestrians died in 2007 from Jan. 1 to Aug. 20 from injuries stemming from a traffic collision, but two of those fatalities were from injuries sustained during collisions occurring in the 1980s.

Since that data was tallied, John O’Neill, 47, was struck and killed by Muni’s J-train while walking on the tracks near the Glen Park station, and then the incident Tuesday.

Sixteen pedestrians died in 2006 in San Francisco while 14 died in 2005, according to the police department’s 2006 Traffic Collision Summary.

Tuesday’s accident occurred in the far left lane westbound on Geary just past Gough Street. The intersection of Geary and Franklin Street, a block away, is one of the ten worst intersections for collisions in The City, according to the 2006 Collision Report from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. The intersection of Geary and Park Presidio was also in the top ten, according to the report.

According to Manish Champsee, president of Walk SF, a pedestrian advocacy group, “You’re just seeing that the streets of San Francisco are very dangerous, and you’re seeing the chickens come home to roost.”

Pedestrians killed in The City

Walkers who have died in traffic collisions on city streets each year for the past 10 years:

1998 – 32

1999 – 25

2000 – 30

2001 – 16

2002 – 17

2003 – 22

2004 – 18

2005 – 14

2006 – 16

2007* – 24

* to date

Source: SFPD Traffic Collision Summary 2006, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, 2006 Collision Report

dsmith@examiner.com  

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