The intersection of South Van Ness and Adair streets
South Van Ness and Adair streets. Photo from Google Maps

San Francisco pedestrian Rene Kelly, 48, was killed Tuesday morning after being struck by a vehicle running a red light at South Van Ness Avenue and 16th Street, authorities said. 

The driver that hit Kelly fled the scene, according to the San Francisco Police Department, which classified the crash as a hit and run. A police investigation into the incident has been opened.

SoMa

Adair St.

The driver fled

northwards after

striking Kelly.

16th St.

The driver blew

through a red

light and struck

Kelly as he crossed

the road.

Mission

S Van Ness Ave.

Adair St.

The driver fled

northwards after

striking Kelly.

16th St.

The driver blew

through a red

light and struck

Kelly as he

crossed

the road.

S Van Ness Ave.

SoMa

Mission

Map by Will Jarrett. Basemap from Mapbox.

Police responded to the site of the collision around 4:30 a.m., and determined in their initial investigation that Kelly was crossing the street when a car driving north on South Van Ness ran a red light and hit him. The driver continued to flee north on South Van Ness.

Kelly, a Mission District resident who lived a few blocks away, was declared dead at the scene despite efforts by police officers and paramedics.

Tuesday’s death marks the Mission District’s second hit-and-run death in quick succession; on Tuesday, June 14, a 29-year-old woman was killed in a hit and run at 21st and Mission streets. The week prior, a Friday-night car collision sent a 20-year-old woman’s vehicle careening into a parklet, but no injuries were reported. 

At least 18 people have died in traffic collisions on San Francisco streets this year, and more than a dozen have been killed in the Mission District alone since 2020, according to Vision Zero data. 

There have been nearly 60 hit-and-runs in the city in 2022, with nearly half resulting in injury, according to data from the SFPD. Eight of these hit-and-runs occurred in the Mission District, with four resulting in injury. This data does not include today’s or last week’s hit-and-run deaths. 

In response to Tuesday’s traffic death, Walk SF and San Francisco Bay Area Families for Safe Streets called on the city to take action to promote traffic safety. They recommended the city follow through on its commitment to complete 20 Vision Zero quick-build projects per year to ensure all 160 miles of the “high-injury network” — the 13% of streets where 75% of traffic crashes occur — see new safety measures by 2024.

Both South Van Ness and 16th Street are considered “high-injury” streets. South Van Ness recently got a Vision Zero quick-build involving the removal of a lane and creation of a turning lane, but Walk SF noted in its statement on Wednesday that the lanes were not narrowed to slow speeds. Work also began on 16th Street this year to improve pedestrian safety and access to transit.

The SFPD requests that anyone with information, including cell phone or surveillance camera footage, call their 24-hour-tip line at 1-415-575-4444 or text a tip to TIP411 and begin the message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

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REPORTER. Eleni is our reporter focused on policing in San Francisco. She first moved to the city on a whim over eight years ago, and the Mission has become her home. Follow her on Twitter @miss_elenius.

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7 Comments

  1. Is London Breed going to double down on VisionZero again, because we know that two times VisionZero is a whole lotta VisionZero?

    And will there be any accountability amongst SFMTA management for the almost decade now of VisionZero budget thrash?

    Or will this go unto the unaccountability file like two decade BRTs? Of the Central Subway debacle? Or the rails for the Twin Peaks tunnel? Or the failure to maintain the Metro during the pandemic shutdown?

    Being the SFMTA means never having to own the outcomes.

  2. Well, sorry for the deceased and the people who knew and cared for him.
    We can expect continued non-enforcement from the 8 percenters (the cops). We can expect continued unsafe street design from SFMTA. We can expect deferred maintenance from PW. We can expect continued non-action in particular on South Van Ness since this is one of the last north south streets that drivers can easily hit 50mph without trying too hard and that is too darn valuable. We can also expect people to die needlessly due to streets that enable and allow unsafe driving by design. Good luck to all out there, even though the odds are against us.

    1. Was cycling east on 15th, coming up on Folsom last month. As I was saw the green light that was counting down at 5 (I can make it from Shotwell through at 7) when I hit Shotwell on 15th.

      I knew I wouldn’t make it and started to slow. Well before 15th street went to yellow phase, a car careened through the intersection on Folsom ‘at speed,’ 30+ mph, oblivious.

  3. I doubt any street design could have prevented this crash. As long as people driving 4,000 lb. vehicles share roads with pedestrians there is great potential for collisions and pedestrian deaths. But at least there should be near certainty that drivers responsible for a collision are held accountable. At a minimum, that requires witnesses. People opposed to widespread surveillance abet hit and run drivers relying on no witnesses to evade responsibility..

    1. Yes it is always horrific when a two ton motor vehicle hits a pedestrian. However, there is a proven way to increase the likelihood that pedestrians survive a collision with a car: Reduce vehicle speed ( https://streets.mn/2016/06/23/chart-of-the-day-pedestrian-crash-survival-rates-by-age-and-speed-of-car/ ) And there are many ways to reduce vehicles speeds, among them reducing lane sizes, adding obstacles, changing the road surface (speed bumps), etc.
      But vision zero seems to think that adding traffic lights is one of them, when everyone who’s been on a sidewalk knows that people always speed through a “yellow” light – particularly if they see a green light in the distance. And I don’t just blame the City – the State has stubbornly refused to permit automated speed cameras ( https://cal.streetsblog.org/2021/05/21/california-wont-be-getting-speed-enforcement-cameras/ )

  4. The BOS wants to bar the police from doing traffic citations. This is going to result in even more hit and run traffic deaths. The criminals are now blatantly running red lights and stop signs all over town. You can bet their cars are chock full of ghost guns and fentanyl. The BOS needs to vote down the proposal barring the police from enforcement or these hit and run killings will skyrocket.

  5. No street design or speed limit will stop someone from speeding or running red lights at 4:30 in the morning if that is how they are inclined. The only thing that will curtail that kind of behavior is cops patrolling and pulling people over. And I say that as someone who has gotten pulled over many a time in the before times. I didn’t like it (getting pulled over for dumb reasons that my white friends never get pulled over for) but I guess I’ll take that over people driving all crazy like they do now, people dying, parklets imploding, etc.

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