The San Francisco Police Department is working hard to build a case against a hit-and-run driver who slammed into two pedestrians Sunday in the Tenderloin, but the driver will never be convicted without the public's help, a department spokesperson says.
At 3:51 Sunday afternoon, the driver of a silver 2005 Toyota SUV struck a woman standing near the corner of Golden Gate and Leavenworth Streets. As the driver fled the scene of that collision, he struck a 58-year-old man who was walking in the crosswalk.
Both were transported to San Francisco General Hospital. The man was suffering from shoulder pain and the woman was bleeding from a cut on her head. Both are expected to survive.
The driver, who witnesses say was a black man between 25 and 30 years old, was last seen fleeing south on Eighth Street. Witnesses say that the SUV"s license plate number was California license plate 7JGL870, which to those of us raised on cop shows should mean the case is solved, right?
Wrong, says SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza. Though police will use registration information to track down the registered owner of a vehicle, "people often register vehicles for friends or family members," so the driver is not necessarily the SUV's owner.
"Unless we have video to place that person as the driver, we have to have someone ID the person who was driving as the suspect," Esparza says. "Otherwise, the DA's office can't prosecute the case."
Regardless of the level of injury, a hit-and-run is a felony, Esparza says.
Without help from members of the public who either saw the crime or who have other information on the case, "it takes a lot of time to get someone in custody" for a case like this...if they can at all.
Therefore, Esparza asks anyone with information on the collisions or driver to contact SFPD's anonymous tip line at (415) 575-4444 or to send a text message to TIP411 with “SFPD” in the message.