A 30-year-old Seacliff resident, former teacher, and debutante was led away in handcuffs Wednesday after witnesses say she slammed her SUV into two boys who were crossing a Marina District street.
It was almost 8:30 Wednesday morning when the two 12-year-old 7th-graders at Marina Middle School were walking in the crosswalk on Bay Street at Buchanan.
According to San Francisco Police Department spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza, an ice cream delivery truck had stopped in the westbound lane of Bay Street to allow the kids to cross, but 30-year-old SF resident Kirsten Andereck passed the truck on the left and struck the kids from behind the wheel of her white Volkswagen Tiguan SUV.
"What we're looking at here is children crossing lawfully in a crosswalk and were struck as they were crossing the street," SFPD Captain Greg McEachern told ABC7.
The collision was hard enough, ABC7 reports, that "the boys were launched into the air by the impact, thrown across the intersection. Their backpack, clothes, and shoes left scattered in the street."
When they were hit, they "were thrown 40 feet in the air from one crosswalk to another. Their shoes were knocked off their feet, and their backpacks and sports drink were tossed into the air," KTVU reports.
Andereck "was arrested at the scene "on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs," KTVU reports, and was led away from the scene in handcuffs, according to ABC7.
"She has worked as a teacher at several kindergarten and elementary schools in the city after getting a master’s degree in bilingual education from the University of San Francisco," the Chron reports, and lives "in the opulent Sea Cliff neighborhood," they say.
According to KRON4, she also "appears to have been a close family friend to the deceased comedian and Marin County resident Robin Williams," for what that's worth.
As for the victims: Esparza says that both are recovering from broken bones and head trauma at San Francisco General Hospital, and are expected to survive.
But while Andereck's alleged intoxication and decision to pass a stopped vehicle are certainly factors in this incident, many area residents say that there are inherent issues with Bay Street that contributed to the crash.
Though the speed limit on the stretch in question is 25, residents say that drivers go more quickly through the intersection.
"Unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me," one resident tells the Chron. Traffic in the area “needs to be calmed down,” she said.
In a statement send to media, pedestrian advocate group Walk SF echoes concerns over street design, saying that "speed and poor street designs that encourage speeding are to blame" for Wednesday's crash.
"Taming speed means the City can save lives," they write, as well as "solutions like more targeted enforcement of speeders, and more complete street design changes that create streets to look and feel like the speed that is appropriate for that street."
According to the Ex, safety upgrades that had been planned for the stretch were delayed by the SFMTA, apparently since the summer of 2014.
A safety project intended to narrow the roadway, narrow the roadway, which “'should reduce speeding and improve pedestrian safety by shortening the crossing distance' was approved by the SFMTA Board of Directors almost two years to the day before the boys were hit, according to SFMTA documents - Nov. 5, 2013."
According to one version of the project site, the changes were to be “implemented in coordination with a repaving project on Bay Street in the summer of 2014.”
Speaking with the Ex, SFMTA spokesperson Paul Rose says that the project is now expected to commence “as early as November 2015.” No explanation for the year plus of delays was given.