The alleged drunk driver who struck two 12-year-old boys as they crossed a Marina district street made her first appearance in court yesterday, where she pleaded "not guilty" and agreed to a judge's order that she wear an alcohol-monitoring device.
As you might recall, 30-year-old SF resident Kirsten Andereck allegedly struck the kids, identified yesterday as Julian Melendez and Peter Nguyen, as they walked in a crosswalk on their way to class at Marina Middle School at around 8:30 a.m. on November 4.
A delivery truck had stopped in the westbound lane of Bay Street to allow the kids to cross at Buchanan, but Andereck allegedly passed the truck on the left. She struck the boys so hard that they flew nearly 40 feet, according to witnesses.
Police arrested her at the scene for suspicion of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and San Francisco's District Attorney later charged her with one count of felony DUI with injury, one count of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of .08 percent or greater, and two counts of child endangerment with enhancements for causing great bodily injury. (You can catch up on the circumstances of the collision in our reports here and here.)
Andereck, who the Chron reports "has been so distraught that she's 'had to be hospitalized the last few days,'" made her first court appearance Tuesday, to much media attention.
According to Bay City News, Andereck's parents, Helga Andereck and Dr. William Andereck, an internist and the medical director of California Pacific Medical Center’s Program in Medicine and Human Values, accompanied her to court Tuesday, where San Francisco Superior Court Judge Daniel Flores ordered her not to operate any motor vehicle and to wear an alcohol-monitoring device.
The Ex reports that she "appeared despondent" and "quietly" said "Yes, I agree" the the ankle monitor requirement, and “I agree,” "loudly" when told that she cannot drive.
Andereck was also joined by her two private defense attorneys, V. Roy Lefcourt (a defense attorney featured in this 1998 SF Weekly cover story on gang homicides) and Betsy Wolkin (perhaps best known as Ross Mirkarimi's defense lawyer during his domestic violence case). “This has been an exceptionally emotional” time for Andereck, Lefcourt said outside court Tuesday, but "refused to comment on Andereck’s blood-alcohol level or what she had been doing before she struck the boys," BCN reports.
Andereck's next court appearance, a pre-hearing conference, is scheduled for Jan. 20, 2016.
Meanwhile, the victims in the collision, Peter Nguyen and Julian Melendez, have been treated for head trauma, fractured hips, and other injuries, ABC 7 reports. Melendez is expected to be released from the hospital this week, but Nguyen is suffering from a "serious brain injury" and "is in bad shape," DA's office spokesperson Alex Bastian said Tuesday.
According to KRON4, "the families of both children have retained lawyers, and they are accusing the SFMTA of not following through on plans to address concerns about the intersection" where the boys were struck.
“We know that the city was on notice about problems in that intersection,” attorney Craig Peters said.
“Two years later, these two boys get hit. Had SFMTA had followed through on the plans that they proposed two years earlier, this accident would have never happened because there would have been one lane of traffic.”