The tour bus driver who struck and killed a retired San Francisco teacher as he crossed the street has been cited with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, police said Thursday.
As previously reported, 82-year-old Pieter Roell was crossing Post Street as he headed south on Divisadero at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 16.
Witnesses say that Roell was waving his arms and banging on the side of the "hop-on hop-off" vehicle from the San Francisco Deluxe Sightseeing Tour Bus company to get the driver's attention as he turned right onto Post from Divis.
In addition. "several witnesses yelled and honked horns to warn" the driver, an officer with the San Francisco Police Department told the Chron.
The driver, identified as 61-year-old Vincent Jones, was also in violation of SF law for "acting as both a driver and narrator on the bus," KRON4 reports.
In an ordinance approved by the Board of Supervisors last April, tour bus operators were required "to employ a second, nondriving guide to provide commentary," the Chron reported at the time.
Though they reported that "most of the ubiquitous double-deck 'hop-on-hop-off' buses that prowl San Francisco already do that," they noted then that "One line, San Francisco Deluxe, doesn’t do it." According to a San Francisco Deluxe dispatcher who spoke with the Chron, in April, "the company might have to raise fares to hire more employees to staff its tours."
But, apparently, that's not what they did — and now the investigation into Roell's death is in the hands of the District Attorney's office, which will make the decision on whether or not to prosecute Jones, SFPD spokesperson Officer Grace Gatpandan says.
According to a friend of Roell's who spoke with the Chron, “He was real energetic and he loved teaching, especially his work in journalism...I was always impressed with his passion and dedication to teaching and dealing with youth.”
Roell had taught English, social studies and journalism at the San Francisco Unified School District for "decades," friends said.
He was an "avid reader, lover of cats, people, teaching," a friend told ABC7.
He was "a very kind spirit and soul and he will be sorely missed."