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San Francisco

12-year-old boy suffers life-threatening injuries in Tenderloin collision

A 12-year-old boy was struck by an SUV driver yesterday afternoon while walking in a crosswalk at Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street in the Tenderloin. He was transported to the hospital in life-threatening condition. 

The incident occurred at approximately 4:44 p.m. SFPD spokesperson Ofc. Adam Lobsinger told Hoodline that the victim remains in the hospital, but his condition has been downgraded to stable. 

The driver of the vehicle has been identified as 29-year-old Miguel Fojas of San Francisco. Fojas remained on the scene after the collision, and has been booked into the San Francisco County Jail on charges of driving under the influence of drugs, driving without a license and failure to yield to a pedestrian.

Due to pending identification matters, Lobsinger declined to release a booking photo of the suspect. 

The collision is the second serious incident involving a pedestrian to occur at Golden Gate and Leavenworth this year. In March, 58-year-old Janice Higashi was struck by a car there while on a lunch break from jury duty. She died from her injuries five days later. 

In response to Higashi's death, the city installed a pedestrian scramble at the intersection, holding all vehicle turns while pedestrians cross. But it was not enough to prevent yesterday's incident, as District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney explained on Twitter:

The Tenderloin is one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods for pedestrians, and the intersection of Golden Gate Avenue and Leavenworth Street has already been identified as a high-injury corridor under the city's Vision Zero plan, which aims to eliminate traffic fatalities by 2024. 

Advocates from Walk SF noted this morning that in addition to Higashi, three other pedestrians have died in the neighborhood this year: Benjamin Dean, 39; Michael Evans, 50; and Mark Swink, 66.

Dean was killed by a Tesla driver who ran a red light, while Evans was struck by a big-rig driver in a hit-and-run. Swink was hit by a Golden Gate Transit bus while walking in a crosswalk. 

“We don’t need another severe or fatal crash to tell us that drastic changes are needed in the Tenderloin,” Jodie Medeiros, executive director of Walk SF, said in a statement. “SFMTA and SFPD need to put the Tenderloin at the very top of their list of priorities.”

Medeiros also noted that there are only 13 red-light cameras in San Francisco, even though drivers running red lights are the biggest contributors to fatal pedestrian collisions.

“There used to be more than 40 red-light cameras," she noted. "Why don’t we have more?”

Medeiros also called for more crosswalks near schools in the Tenderloin, which has the city's highest per-capita population of children. Tuesday's collision occurred blocks from both a school and the Tenderloin outpost of child-centered nonprofit 826 Valencia.

“The majority of pedestrians killed this year were in a crosswalk when they were hit,” Medeiros said. “What kind of city can San Francisco claim to be when people can’t cross the street safely?”

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