Pedestrians in downtown San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Pedestrians in downtown San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

San Francisco police are investigating the city’s third pedestrian fatality of 2014, an early-morning incident on Van Ness Avenue in which the driver allegedly tried to leave the scene.

Officer Gordon Shyy said police responded to a report of an accident near Van Ness and Pacific avenues at about 12:55 a.m. Wednesday. Officers found a person lying in the street, who was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses pointed out the driver involved in the incident, a man who reportedly had begun to walk away down Pacific Avenue. The driver was detained and later charged with suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports police are saying the driver’s speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, but that drugs and alcohol did not appear to play a role. The paper said that authorities identified him as Mageb Hussain, 27, of Emeryville, who was driving a silver 2009 Toyota from a rental agency. The Chron story also reported that he was cited twice for speeding and once for driving on a sidewalk in three separate incidents in March and April 2011.

The piece in the Chron added: “He later failed to make court appearances, records show, and his license was suspended in November of 2011 – an action that ended in October of last year. Hussain’s license is currently valid, the DMV said.”

Police haven’t identified the victim in Wednesday’s incident.

The episode marks the third time in 2014 and the ninth since last Dec. 1 in which a motorist has struck and killed a pedestrian in the city. The Chronicle’s summary of the two prior 2014 fatalities:

The first one also happened on Van Ness, near Grove Street, when 38-year-old Antonio Cancino of San Francisco was struck and killed as he tried to run across the street Jan. 7. The driver in that incident remained at the scene and was not charged.

On Feb. 4, a 78-year-old man, Isaak Berenzon of San Francisco, was struck and killed as he tried to cross Sunset Boulevard at Yorba Street. The driver, 71-year-old Jenny Ching, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

Mayor Ed Lee, members of the Board of Supervisors and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency are promising action, including adoption of a “Vision Zero” plan that would aim to eliminate all traffic fatalities in the city by 2024. Pedestrian advocates have questioned whether the city has committed the funding they say would be necessary to make the streets safer.

This post incorporates reporting from Bay City News.

Arrest Made in San Francisco’s Latest Pedestrian Fatality 12 February,2014Dan Brekke


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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