Hit-and-runs kill two men in S.F.

San Francisco police searched this weekend for the drivers involved in two hit-and-run collisions that claimed the lives of two men. </p>

A member of the Canadian navy who was off duty with his shipmates and a 77-year-old man who had just parked his vehicle were both killed by drivers who struck them down and then fled the scene. No arrests had been made in either incident as of Sunday evening.

Shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday, Canadian naval Lt. Mark Ashley, 27, was struck by a silver or gray Mercedes while crossing east on The Embarcadero at Howard Street, police said.

Witnesses told police the driver of the Mercedes, which was traveling south on The Embarcadero, hit Ashley and kept driving. Ashley, who was knocked into the air, was pronounced dead at the scene, San Francisco police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

“We believe the Mercedes has both front-end damage and windshield damage,” Gittens said. “If anybody knows anyone who owns a Mercedes that did not have a cracked windshield or front end damage prior to Saturday, we would appreciate a call.”

Ashley, who was from Toronto, was serving as an above-water warfare officer on Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Calgary, docked at Pier 17 in The City. Ship Cmdr. Kelly Larkin said Ashley was off duty with his shipmates when he was struck.

“He was a very bright, talented young officer,” said Larkin, who said Ashley left behind a family but did not provide details. “My ship’s company is in a state of shock and grief. A ship’s company is a very strong family and team.”

In a second incident, a vehicle struck a 77-year-old man identified by the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office as Roger Tennysion, of San Francisco, after he parked his car on the 100 block of Sanchez Street in the Castro district around 1:30 a.m. Sunday, police said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The hit-and-runs ended a dangerous week in San Francisco for pedestrians. On Friday, a 40-year-old woman was hospitalized after being struck by a Muni bus at 22nd Avenue and California Street. On Tuesday, 83-year-old Marina Vafiadis was killed after being hit by a Muni bus at Balboa Street and Park Presidio.

While recent statistics documenting hit-and-run crashes were not immediately available Sunday, police reported recently that 16 pedestrians were killed in 2006, up from 14 in 2005.

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, San Francisco ranks first in the state for pedestrian injuries and deaths among 13 cities of comparable size. The City ranks first in crashes involving pedestrians older than 65 years old and first in nighttime collisions, the office reported.

arocha@examiner.com

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