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Tourists Crossing SF Street Mowed Down After Speeding Driver Runs Red Light, Crashes

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- One pedestrian is dead and another is in life-threatening condition following a two-car crash at the intersection of Taylor and O'Farrell Streets in San Francisco on Sunday afternoon, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

San Francisco police responded to the intersection near the 400 block of Taylor Street at around 2:08 p.m. after receiving reports of a vehicle collision involving a Tesla, which was rented out by the owner using the Getaround car-sharing app.

The woman driving the Tesla was apparently speeding and ran a red light, police learned from surveillance footage. An investigator said the Tesla appeared to be driving at least 45 miles per hour when it entered the intersection. The vehicle was broadsided by a Mini Cooper and spun out, hitting the two pedestrians walking in the crosswalk, police said.

The victims, a couple visiting from Clovis, California, were transported to a San Francisco General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The husband succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. He was identified as 39-year-old Benjamin Dean.

"I heard a big, like, explosion sound and it was the collision. When I came up here there people doing chest compressions on a white middle aged man, and he was not breathing, and another woman was on the ground bleeding and she couldn't get up, and she was moaning," said Elvia McKinley, a witness at the scene.

Neighbors and SFPD officers are upset by the seemingly nonstop pedestrian deaths around the city.

"This intersection is very dangerous--Taylor and O'Farrell--people are always speeding and don't have...they don't follow the law. It's really sad that people have to die because people want to run a red light," McKinley said.

"It's very upsetting. I mean, what are we at now? 14 or 15 fatalities regarding vehicle versus ped in the city? Me and my officers are responding to these calls. It's becoming very upsetting," said Sgt. Frank Harrell, a motorcycle officer with SFPD.

Both drivers of the two involved vehicles were uninjured and remained on the scene to cooperate with investigators. Police said alcohol and drugs didn't seem to be factors in the collision.

Investigators from SFPD's Traffic Collision Investigation Unit collected a USB thumb drive from the Tesla's computer to determine if the driver was using the vehicle's autonomous driving mode at the time of the crash. Investigators will also review the vehicle's dash cam footage.

A KPIX 5 camera shot the Tesla driver being placed into custody by SFPD Sunday evening. The 22-year-old suspect has been charged with vehicular manslaughter and running a red light, police said.

Albert Kim told KPIX 5 he rented out his car to a San Francisco woman at around 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon. He said he was notified of Sunday's accident by another app.

"The Tesla app sent me a message that my car was in an accident, not drivable, and was in an accident. I didn't believe it," Kim said. He told KPIX 5 it's a 2018 Tesla Model 3 with the extended range battery. He said he came to the scene of the crash after getting a call from Tesla's roadside assistance confirming the car was disabled.

"I accepted that risk because based on probability, it might happen, but nobody is protected from it, even if you're a perfect driver. There is a probability that you might make a mistake. That's why I'm not mad at the driver. I might actually pray for her, you know, she's now in a difficult situation," Kim said.


KPIX 5 reporters Katie Nielsen and Andria Borba contributed to this story. 

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