A driver struck and killed a pedestrian with a stolen vehicle on Thursday morning near Lake Merced during a multi-vehicle collision that also injured several other people, according to police.
Eight cars were involved in the crash at Lake Merced Boulevard and Higuera Avenue, which resulted in non life-threatening injuries to four people and the death of a 26-year-old man who has not been identified by authorities, police said.
The driver of the suspect vehicle, identified by police as San Francisco resident Jerry Lyons, 31, was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries and later arrested.
Lyons was allegedly driving a 2003 Ford Explorer that had been reported stolen out of San Jose. He was booked into County Jail on suspicion of various charges including vehicular manslaughter, felony hit and run, driving under the influence and driving a stolen vehicle.
Lyons was on probation in both San Mateo and San Francisco counties at the time of the collision and has a lengthy criminal history with arrests dating back more than a decade, court records show. He was released from state prison last April after serving a four-year state prison sentence for grand theft and has been arrested at least five times since then.
He was arrested twice last month in Redwood City on suspicion of being under the influence of a controlled substance, and by the California Highway Patrol in San Francisco on Dec. 3 for allegedly driving a stolen vehicle, being an unlicensed driver and DUI.
He was held in jail for 27 days for violating his probation over the Dec. 3 arrest but not immediately charged pending toxicology results in the case, District Attorney Chesa Boudin said.
The District Attorney’s Office plans to make a charging decision in the collision by Monday.
The collision prompted Supervisor Myrna Melgar to call for a total overhaul of the Lake Merced area, where pedestrians regularly have to cross multiple lanes of speeding traffic.
“People treat Higueroa Avenue and Lake Merced Boulevard like highways, and neither street was really built for pedestrians,” Melgar said. “We have to slow things down everywhere in The City, but for some places, particularly those two streets, I think it needs a major redesign.”
Melgar said she had already started working with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to do “whatever we can” to make the area safer for pedestrians, cyclists and other road users in the interim.
A 14-year-old girl also died after being hit by a driver near Lake Merced in March 2019. She and her mother were both struck by the driver while they were in the crosswalk with their dog.
The pedestrian death was the second of 2021, despite repeated calls from lawmakers to prioritize street safety.
On Jan. 19, an elderly man was struck by the driver of a vehicle while crossing the street at San Jose Avenue and 24th Street. He succumbed to his injuries and died four days later.
This story has been updated with additional information.