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Suspect in horrific San Francisco Mission District crash identified, charged with murder

Worker rushes to horrific SF crash scene to aid badly injured woman
Worker rushes to horrific SF crash scene to aid badly injured woman 03:07

SAN FRANCISCO -- A 57-year-old San Francisco man has been charged with carjacking and murder in a horrific police pursuit crash in San Francisco's Mission District that claimed the life of a 58-year-old bystander and injured three others.

San Francisco police announced Wednesday that Carlo Watson has been booked into San Francisco County Jail on charges of carjacking, murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, resisting arrest, evading a police officer causing serious bodily injury or death, and driving without a license.  

While not releasing the names of the dead and injured, police did reveal their ages and updated their conditions.  A 58-year-old male who was standing near the bus stop at 16th Street and Potrero died of his injuries.

Three others -- a 70-year-old woman, a 57-year-old woman, and a 37-year-old man -- all sustained non-life-threatening injuries.

The incident began around 10 a.m. Tuesday with a carjacking of a city vehicle and a struggle between a city employee and the suspect.

"Officers responded to reports of a carjacking in the area of Folsom and Mabini streets," San Francisco police spokesman Officer Robert Rueca said. "Officers received the identification of that vehicle being city-owned and the vehicle was spotted in the area of Kansas and 25th streets. A vehicle pursuit ensued due to the carjacking. The pursuit came here to 16th and Potrero streets where a vehicle collision was involved."

View of crash scene following high-speed chase at 16th St. and Potrero Ave. in San Francisco's Mission District, May 23, 2023. CBS

At the intersection of 16th Street and Potrero, the stolen truck slammed into an SUV.  The vehicles then careened into a bus stop. The force of the impact sent the truck crashing into an O'Reilly Auto Parts storefront, carrying the victims from the bus stop with it.

"As a result of the collision, the suspect and four victims sustained injuries. Officers rendered aid and summoned medics to the scene," said police in a press statement. "The suspect was detained on scene. Medics transported the suspect and the victims to a local hospital. One of the four victims succumbed to their injuries and was declared deceased."

Police at the scene of a fatal crash following a police chase at the intersection of 16th St. and Potrero Ave., May 23, 2023. User-submitted image

Ivan Contreras was working in the O'Reilly Auto Parts store which had its windows shattered by the crash. He and a fellow employee rushed out to the street.

"We heard this big sound like an explosion," he told KPIX. "We came out and saw all the glass blown out of our store. We saw a couple of people on the floor [of a store]."

The truck had ripped into the building. Contreras said a man was on the ground with a serious head injury. 

"I looked at the back [of the truck]," he said. "There was a lady pinned underneath under the truck. I bent down and lifted the bumper off her chest so she could breathe. In Spanish, she said 'Don't leave me.' I called out to the EMTs who didn't know she was there. They helped her out."

Contreras also said he watched police arrest the suspected carjacker at gunpoint. 

While an arrest has been made, this remains an open and active investigation.  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.    

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