Jennie Zhu (Courtesy SFPD)

SF woman sentenced to 6 years prison in 2013 crash that killed teenage boy

A San Francisco woman who was reportedly speeding and changing lanes recklessly before a 2013 multi-vehicle crash that killed a 16-year-old boy and injured his mother and sister was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday.
Jennie Zhu, 63, was convicted in June of vehicular manslaughter and reckless driving in connection with the Sept. 27, 2013 collision at the edge of Nob Hill.

Judge Samuel Feng sentenced Zhu to six years, the maximum possible term, for a single count of vehicular manslaughter. He also sentenced her to 16 months for each of two counts of reckless driving, but those sentences will be served concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.

Court records show Zhu was driving her Mercedes SUV at a high speed in the area of Pine and Polk streets when she was first seen by patrol officers. The officers followed her, and saw that she was driving faster than their vehicle, which was traveling 35 to 40 mph, and witnesses later told police she was driving as fast as 80 mph. The posted speed limit in the area was 25 mph.

SEE RELATED: Jennie Zhu charged with vehicular manslaughter in deadly September crash

When she reached Pine and Gough streets, where vehicles were stopped, Zhu tried to change lanes but struck a Chevy Venture minivan with three people inside before then going airborne and hitting another vehicle parked at the curb. A Muni bus, another unoccupied parked vehicle and a white van were also involved in the collision, with the white van being pushed into the intersection from the impact.
Police at the time said three other people were injured in the crash, although not critically.

The minivan was crushed and knocked on its side, and one of its passengers, 16-year-old Lincoln High School student Kevin San, suffered a fatal head injury and died at the scene. His mother suffered head trauma, neck and back injuries, while his sister suffered multiple fractures.

Zhu was also hospitalized.

Zhu’s defense attorney Alfred Vea initially asked Feng for the minimum sentence, saying that Zhu, an immigrant from China, is a model citizen who has no criminal record.

Describing the fatal crash as a “horrible accident,” Vea said, “I don’t believe, despite the verdict, that she had any intention of causing this.”

San’s parents, visibly emotional, appeared at the sentencing.

“Has she ever thought about how this has impacted us?” Kevin San’s father Hong San said in court via a Cantonese interpreter.

“My family will no longer be a normal family,” he said. “The very minimal responsibility you should take is to pay your dues and not run away from your responsibility.”

Zhu, who was also assisted by a Cantonese interpreter, was immediately remanded into custody.

-Bay City News contributed to this report


If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at

Just Posted

Lakeshore Elementary School was closed in March shortly before SFUSD closed all schools due to coronavirus concerns. The district is now working to prepare all elementary schools to reopen by mid-January.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
School district preparing buildings for hybrid learning

SFUSD plans to use 72 elementary schools and 12 early education sites for first phase of reopening

There have been at least 142 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among workers at San Francisco International Airport. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supes back SFO worker healthcare legislation despite airline, business opposition

Costs of ‘Health Airport Ordinance’ in dispute, with estimates ranging from $8.4 M to $163 M annually

Thankfully, playgrounds that were closed due to the pandemic during the summer have reopened.<ins> (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
The perils of parenting, COVID-style

At long last, it’s OK to take your little one out to play

Ten candidates are running for a seat on the Board of Trustees of the San Francisco Community College District.. (Courtesy photos)
Strong leadership needed as City College faces multiple crises

Ten candidates vying for four seats on CCSF board

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Most Read