An alleged drunk driver was arrested early Sunday morning after hitting five pedestrians at 19th and Mission streets and fleeing the scene, San Francisco police confirmed.
Brandon Calderon Vargas, 25, of South San Francisco, was arrested after he crashed a second time, some 10 minutes after he allegedly struck the pedestrians. This time, Calderon Vargas stayed on the scene at 19th Street and South Van Ness Avenue, where he was involved in a two-car collision and was ultimately arrested.
Around 1:45 a.m. on Sunday, police discovered five victims who had been struck by a car while they crossed a Mission Street crosswalk at 19th Street. Four of the five were hospitalized and are expected to survive, while the fifth refused medical services, according to police.
While officers were on the scene of the hit-and-run, they were notified at 1:57 a.m. of a two-car collision just two blocks away, at 19th and South Van Ness. Both drivers had remained at the scene, and police identified Calderon Vargas as the suspect in the earlier hit-and-run.
He was booked in San Francisco county jail on three charges: Failure to stop at a red light; fleeing the scene of a collision; and driving under the influence of alcohol, causing injury. He remains in custody.
The Mission is no stranger to hit-and-runs. Just one block away earlier this summer, a man was killed at 18th Street and South Van Ness, and multiple people have been killed and injured in hit-and-runs in the neighborhood this year and last. South Van Ness is a high-injury corridor.
Twenty pedestrians were killed in the city in 2022, and nine have been killed so far this year. Four of those were in the Mission District, according to city data.
“Failure to stop after being involved in a collision can result in a driver being charged with a crime, which can be as high as a felony if the other party is injured as a result of the collision, even if you were not at fault for the original collision,” wrote SFPD in a statement.