Hit-And-Run Prompts Crackdown On SoMa Red-Light Runners

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— San Francisco police are beginning a new operation to keep the roads safe in the South of Market neighborhood where a boy was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver this week.

Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield said police will use pedestrian decoys, or officers posing as regular citizens, plainly walking on the cross-walk. The crackdown will focus on drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians and cyclists in SoMa.

KCBS’ Ted Goldberg Reports:

“There’s going to be officers stationed at certain areas. Everyday it might be a different location. It’s not some type of sting. They’re just standing there to see who runs the red light,” said Dangerfield.

Meantime, the 9-year-old boy who was injured during a hit-and-run in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood Thursday remains in critical condition Saturday, according to a San Francisco General Hospital spokeswoman.

Ryan White’s condition is improving. No further details were released Saturday.

Hayward resident Andrew Vargas, 21, was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of felony hit-and-run and driving under the influence in connection with the incident, police Lt. Troy Dangerfield said.

Ryan was walking ahead of a family member while crossing Mission Street around 10:30 p.m. when he was struck by a white pickup truck turning left onto Mission Street.

The truck had been driving north on New Montgomery Street, which is a one-way southbound street, police said.

Vargas allegedly didn’t stop after hitting Ryan, and continued west on Mission Street before hitting numerous other cars. He then drove onto a nearby highway, police said.

Vargas was stopped in Hayward around 11:30 p.m. after his pickup was spotted by local police.

Witnesses identified him and his truck as those involved in the hit-and-run, and a preliminary screening indicated his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit, Dangerfield said.

On average there are 800 accidents involving pedestrians in San Francisco each year.

Pedestrians and cyclists said it’s not just police—but everyone—needs to keep their eyes open when they’re on the street.

Will Lopez of San Francisco, who was walking down the street, said everyone has a story about a close call.

“Thank goodness for my awareness I was able to not get hit,” said Lopez who has been lucky so far.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  • Equal Wheels

    As long as the SFPD doesn’t discriminate against Motorists, cyclists who run the lights need to be ticketed too. Or has everyone forgotten the woman pedestrian last month who was hit by a cyclist running the light on Embarcadero? -Equal Wheels (Facebook)

  • Ben

    As a runner I can unequivocally state that cyclists are a far greater threat than cars. A motorist may run a light or ignore a pedestrian, but you can count on cyclists doing it every time. At least you’re safe from cars if you’re on the sidewalk.

    Get you head out of your colon SFPD!

  • Matt

    Cyclists have no regard for pedestrians either alot of times… They need to be watched as well…

  • Tim Giangiobbe

    I know it isn’t legal but I have my way of FIXING rude Geary ,Lincoln ,19th,Outer Mission SOMA and Van Ness drivers who go way over boundaries in crosswalks.
    I have the habit of carrying coffee with PLENTY of HALF and HALF in the coffee and it JUST HAPPENS to find it’s way to the rude drivers windshield.Have you ever wiped off coffee with cream from a windshield ?IT SMEARS !
    If you have you better slow down nest time before I graduate to brake fluid.
    Anyone who would do such a thing must be a radical moron.
    THAT’S RIGHT a RADICAL MORON who is tired of diving out of the way of hurried drivers at least once a year.Some years a few times
    Hell I am disabled and slow but get a burst of hurry when needed from pure adrenaline.,.

  • cube

    An emphasis also needs to target pedestrians education. I am amazed at how many people will step into a crosswalk without looking for oncoming traffic. Just because you have a green cross light does not mean that a car is not coming. Drivers make mistakes and are sometimes careless. I have seen a few people hit in San Francisco in just the seven years that I have lived here. It seems to be normal for people to blindly step into crosswalks. I cringe everytime a see someone do this with a stroller and child.

  • A bit late

    Why do we always fix problems AFTER someone is hurt?
    We all share these roads and each of us is completely responsible for what happens on our roads each day.
    Each driver, pedestrian and bike rider should tell them selves BEFORE they begin their drive, walk or ride to BE RESPONSIBLE and ready for others mistakes.
    Drive, Walk and Ride as you would want others to treat you.
    Now I shall get off my soap box……

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