Photo courtesy of Jana Dlabikova

A driver collided with a U.S. Postal Service truck at 3 p.m. and tried to flee from the intersection of Mission and Valencia streets, but a retired highway patrol officer jumped in to help apprehend the driver.  The woman, who was later taken into custody,  appeared to be in her 40s.  The female postal employee driving the truck was transported to a nearby hospital for minor injuries.

It is unclear how the crash occurred, but the collision propelled the mail truck into a sidewalk parklet near the intersection. According to several bystanders, the driver of the Ford Focus exited the vehicle immediately after the crash and ran on Mission Street towards 29th Street.

“I heard a loud ‘thump’ and thought, ‘wow that sounded like a good hit,” said Ricardo Jimenez, a retired California Highway Patrol officer who was at Los Panchos, a Mexican  restaurant at 3206 Mission St. located steps away from the scene of the accident.  Jimenez said he walked outside and saw the mail truck “up against the curb” and the driver’s seat of the Ford Focus empty.

“This girl started running up the hill kind of bent over, like she was in pain,” said Jimenez. After another bystander informed him that she was the driver of the colliding vehicle, Jimenez said he followed her half a block up, into the parking lot of a Bank of America. There, Jimenez said he confronted the woman, who was attempting to climb over a fence in the bank’s parking lot.

“I said, ‘look you can’t leave the scene of the accident,’ and that I would detain her, said Jimenez. “She was denying it right away.”

Jimenez said he locked the woman into a “bear hug,” but let her go when another man accused him of assaulting her. The woman then continued to flee, turning right onto 29th Street and taking refuge in a business near Tiffany Street. The business’s owner and Jimenez both alerted the police, who took the woman into custody upon arrival, according to Jimenez.

A neighbor who lives across the street from the intersection and observed the crash from her window said that the suspect was not alone in the Ford Focus.  A man estimated to be in his 30s was sitting in the passenger seat. “He said he was the owner of the car,” said the neighbor.

Eden Stein, the owner of Secession at 3235 Mission St., said she heard the crash while inside her store and after stepping outside, witnessed the male passenger exit the car and procure a ferret from its trunk.

“He was in shock. He went into the trunk and grabbed his ferret,” said Stein.

Also in shock was the female postal employee, said Stein. Firefighters and police responded to the scene, and the woman was given a neck brace before being transported to the hospital.

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