SFPD staffing crisis San Francisco police staffing crisis
Photo by David Mamaril Horowitz

Correction and updates, Jan. 11, 1:37 p.m.:

A 2019 Dodge Ram Towmaster was traveling south on Valencia Street when it turned left onto 16th Street and struck the pedestrian, who later died from her injuries, according to preliminary information from SFPD obtained by Mission Local.

Update, Jan. 11, 10:40 a.m.: The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner identified the woman who died as Wan Mei Tan, age 64, of San Francisco. The office added that it has notified her next of kin.

Update, Jan. 11, 12:43 a.m.: Police at the scene had rendered aid to the pedestrian and called for medics, but the woman was declared deceased after succumbing to her injuries, according to the SFPD.  

Police said that impairment from drugs or alcohol does not seem to be a factor, so far, in the investigation.

Original story on Jan. 10, 7:54 p.m. (updated for accuracy):

A 64-year-old woman was struck by a driver in a crosswalk at 16th and Valencia streets this evening, according to Officer Gian Tozzini, one of numerous police officers at the scene.

Tozzini said he was told that the woman suffered life-threatening injuries, and she was taken to San Francisco General Hospital by an ambulance with the lights on and the sirens blaring.

Police responded to the call at 5:51 p.m. and found that the driver struck the woman at the eastern intersection of the crosswalk while making a left turn, southbound to eastbound, according to preliminary information from SFPD obtained by Mission Local.

The driver’s turn was legal, and he remained at the scene, Tozzini said.

The woman “may have fallen in the crosswalk prior to being struck — we’re trying to determine that,” Tozzini said around 7 p.m. “We’re still investigating.”

In the meantime, officers have taped off the eastern section of 16th Street, between Valencia Street and Julian Avenue.

As of about 7 p.m, there was no ETA for when the street would be reopened; it could be a couple of hours, Tozzini said.

This is a developing story and may be updated.

Anyone with information is asked to call the SFPD Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous,” police said.    

Correction: The original article cited an officer at the scene who stated that the driver turned from south to east, which would require a right turn. New information indicates that it appears this was incorrect. It has been fixed.

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David’s one of those San Francisco natives who gets excited whenever City College is mentioned. He has journalism degrees from there and San Francisco State University, graduating from the latter in May 2021. In college, David played five different roles as an editor at student news publications and reported as an intern for three local newspapers, mostly while waiting tables at the Alamo Drafthouse. His first job was at Mitchell's Ice Cream.

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  1. This is terribly sad, both for the loss of someones precious loved one, and because it’s preventable. I attribute this to the traffic engineers who insist on creating unsafe conditions for pedestrians: There should never be pedestrians in the intersection at the same time as cars are turning. Period. We have intersections in SF where this is the case (separate light for pedestrians with no right or left turn on red, also called “pedestrian scramble” – Montgomery street), but the traffic engineers hate it because it slows down “throughput” of motor vehicle traffic. Instead we have stupid mis-statements like “the turn was legal” from cops, and one or two second pedestrian advance so they can be fully in the intersection, and countdown timers – all of which put the onus on the victim.

  2. That intersection is very messy. The “shared space” is too close to the intersection, and they need more diligent enforcement of illegal and double parking vehicles in the crosswalk and next to the “shared space.” Also, the walk signals need to turn to red before the traffic lights.

  3. Visibility is bad in the rain, and winter in general. Wear bright colors if you can, and also don’t trust drivers to stop. Many are oblivious.

    Drivers should be penalized of they’re looking at their cellphone and not paying attention.

    1. So, cool, you’re just here for the vehicle owners huh. Making sure we all know none of us have the basic human right to walk around places without being killed if we don’t wear bright colors. If we don’t walk in broad daylight (so I guess that means we should be sheltering in place til further notice?). If we aren’t clairvoyant. Nah, you’ll still excuse drivers for obvious negligence no matter what.

  4. David M.H.: regret your article didn’t receive more on-point commentary. e.g., 64 vs 65; bigoted reply over prayer emoji.
    It’s bad enough winter has set in, the accident was probably after nightfall.
    70 years ago adults drilled into everyone that one should wear white clothing after dark. Then, reflective tape was invented; wear THAT on clothing after dark.
    Who bothers any more?

    1. Too bad it didn’t occur to those ‘adults’ 70 years ago until now that our cities and federal oversight agencies actually have a duty of care to its citizens to (a) design streets that don’t allow dangerous speeding and high-speed left turns and (b) prohibit large, heavy trucks with wide A pillars that obstruct views while turning in our city centers and (c) impose harsher penalties on drivers for negligence while driving lethal machines on our streets. At the very least the State of California should revoke this person’s license until a *thorough* investigation of the crash is complete.

  5. 2019 RAM ProMaster. Quarter images on the Internet show a vast blindspot in front of the A pillar and rearview mirror. There’s a lot of street to the front/left that’s not visible from the driver seat. On a side note, this generally is an aspect of today’s car designs that’s a total fail. Drive something like a 20yo wagon and you’d be taken aback how much better you can see out of the thing.

  6. “The driver’s turn was legal”

    Ridiculous, Chinese seniors don’t jaywalk and even if she did the driver had a LEGAL duty to watch out for her instead of running her over.

  7. Thanks for your reporting. How was the driver’s turn “legal” if the driver struck and killed a pedestrian in a crosswalk? California vehicle code is pretty clear on this. Be careful about just parroting the police on these sorts of stories — in some situations it can introduce bias and attribute lawfulness to certain parties that may or may not be deserved. Please also add context (high injury network, national and local trends in pedestrian injuries and fatalities, etc.) so that readers can connect the story to broader systemic issues and understand that these tragedies are not isolated incidents.

    1. Hi Jim,

      For clarification, the officer said that the driver was making a lawful turn. From what I could tell, he was stating that the turn, itself, was legal — and he was *not* stating that it was lawful for the driver to strike the pedestrian.

      Also, thank you for the feedback.


      1. Thanks David — appreciate your reply. I’m not sure you can separate the turn from the striking and killing of the pedestrian which occurred as the turn was being executed by the driver. It would be interesting to hear the officer’s explanation for why they chose to try and separate the two. And even if you could separate them, it’s not clear why one lawful act by the driver would be relevant. If a negligent driver runs 20% of red lights and eventually kills someone, we should focus on the reckless behavior, not the 80% of times when they acted lawfully. Thanks also for updating the piece with the new details that this was a left turn that led to the fatality — I believe left turns are responsible for almost half of pedestrian injuries and deaths in SF. Keep up the reporting on these issues!

        1. Thanks, Jim for having the right mentality. The wrong mentality is shared by too many drivers and traffic officers.
          We are a city with many pedestrians, particularly where she was killed, we’re also a city of many dead pedestrians. The federal CAFE standards allow for trucks to keep getting bigger and bigger with known blind spots to pedestrians, especially small pedestrians (like children). Traffic in the city has trended towards increased recklessness with each new reckless driver merely reacting in anger to the recklessness of other drivers. The most reckless and aggressive drivers are rewarded constantly with a faster trip through town.
          Nowadays, you can barely yell at someone without getting arrested or accosted but driver violence is alive and well and the easiest way to kill someone where we live is to run them over and then explain that the driver didn’t see them.

      2. A driver doesn’t need to strike a pedestrian during a turn to violate section 21950 of the vehicle code, merely has to fail to yield to a pedestrian.

  8. Correction Tozzi – It is never legal to run over a pedestrian, period, ever.

    Drivers need to slow down. It is dark and raining, slow down. You are driving in the Mission, slow down. Driving is a privilege and has the implicit and explicit responsibility to not harm others, and is not a right to just blast through anywhere without consequence, because that behavior kills people. Telling the public the driver did nothing wrong kills people.

    You enable careless people to kill others, Tozzi, with your official statements.

    1. Hi Janos,

      For clarification, the officer said that the driver was making a lawful turn. From what I could tell, he was stating that the turn, itself, was legal — and he was *not* stating that it was lawful for the driver to strike the pedestrian.


    2. “It is never legal to run over a pedestrian, period, ever.”

      Sorry but that is utter nonsense. I could (if so minded) leap out into the highway right in front of you, and you would rightfully be held 100% innocent and legal. I would be the one held at fault.

      Why in these stories are we never told who had the light?

      1. It seems in this situation both the driver and the pedestrian had a green light. What’s ironic is she was in a crosswalk and so many pedestrians on 16th between Mission and Guerrero jaywalk.. I have seen many near misses in this vicinity.

      2. I believe that’s only a two way light. There’s no left turn signal that would give a pedestrian a “Do Not Walk” sign. So, both the driver and the pedestrian would have “had” the light. It’s then the driver’s responsibility to give up the right-of-way to th3 pedestrian.