SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — One person was killed when a group of pedestrians was mowed down by a vehicle in San Francisco in a hit-and-run incident that began with an altercation on the street, according witnesses. A suspect was later arrested.
San Francisco Police spokeswoman Officer Giselle Linnane said the incident happened at around 10:24 a.m. at Illinois and 24th St. in the city’s Dogpatch neighborhood.
The driver of a vehicle got into a physical altercation with five people and struck all five with his car, said Linnane.
Sometime after 12:00 noon, police took a man into custody on the 700 block of Geneva Ave. in the Outer Mission. He was allegedly driving a white GMC minivan with front-end damage.
A witness who chose to remain anonymous said the incident began as a dispute between a driver of a van and four or five people on the street which led to the driver getting out of his van and chasing after the people with an ax or a hatchet. The witness said the people were able to disarm the man and chase him back to his van, where he then got back in the vehicle and drove onto the sidewalk and into the group at high speed.
Witness describes van plowing into pedestrians:
“The guy in the van got out of the van to pick up something on the ground and these guys sort of said, ‘What are you doing?’ And it was sort of a playful exchange, then the guy in the van got in their face and started yelling at them and they started yelling back. And there some sort of turf discussions like, ‘This is my turf,’ and whatever. So it’s just a crazy person. The guys on the street were sort of just messing around and then it got escalated and then all of sudden I think one of them is dead,” the witness said.
“The white van circled around — there was an altercation happening between this guy in the van and the four victims … I saw somebody with a hatchet or small ax, and then other guys took out a belt. There was then a scuffle between them at which point I was already thinking about calling 911, I was on the phone with 911 and then he ran the four of them over. And then he continued down the sidewalk towards my general direction at which point I stayed on the phone with 911 and he drove off,” another witness said.
Around noon, police detained a suspect with a white GMC minivan which had front end damage. He was seen being placed in an ambulance after speaking with officers for a time. San Francisco police later said they had arrested a suspect but would not confirm his identity. The van was registered to a man by the name of Mark Dennis.
Person detained following San Francisco pedestrian hit & run:
After the driver had fled the scene, the five male victims were taken to the hospital, with at least one of the victims in life-threatening condition, police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca said. Earlier police had indicated four of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries.
Just before 1:00 p.m. the San Francisco Police Officers Association tweeted that one of the victims had died.
Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital spokesman Brent Andrew said aside from the deceased victim, one victim was in critical condition, two others in serious condition and one in fair condition.
One of the witnesses claimed that prior to the incident, the van driver had also yelled at him and threw something at him after the witness had parked his car on the street. The driver also had made a threatening motion towards the witness.
“I’ve never really noticed him before. I park here from time to time, so I just happened to be too close to his car maybe. He threw something at me, then hit me, then circled back around extensively to threaten me. At which point he stopped to pick back up whatever he threw at me, and that’s when the altercation ensued,” he said. “I’m still definitely in shock. The police arrived within minutes, all four men were taken off in ambulances. One of the guys looked like potentially a broken back. Three of them didn’t move until paramedics arrived.”