Three men who were allegedly doing doughnuts in SoMa before fleeing from police, crashing, and dying Saturday evening have been identified — and a family member of one of the victims says the cops might be to blame for their death.
You likely remember the story: a California Highway Patrol spokesperson says that they received reports of doughnut-doing at Fifth and Brannan Streets at around 9:20 p.m. Saturday. As officers arrived the driver of the alleged doughnut-doing vehicle (a white, 4-door Chevy SS sedan, a witness told SFist) "sped off" and ran many red lights.
Though CHP says that the officer then ceased the pursuit "because he thought it was too dangerous," the driver of the Chevy continued, striking a cab at Ninth and Brannan and bursting into flames.
The taxi driver suffered non-life-threatening injuries and is expected to recover, CHP says. Two men were trapped in the Chevy and died in the blaze, The third was ejected on impact, and was also dead at the scene.
ABC7 reports that the three men killed were Pittsburg High School student Roland Zanie, 27-year-old Bay Point man Gene Mollique Jr., and 31-year-old David Hamilton III, of Antioch.
In an odd note, ABC7 reports in an earlier story, "Zanie's stepmother says his father is a deputy sheriff with the San Francisco Sheriff's Department." A spokesperson with the SF Sheriff's department could not confirm that detail with SFist.
All three were reportedly heading home from Super Bowl City's NFL Experience when witnesses say that they were spotted doing doughnuts and racing "a blue Viper or Corvette and a black Charger" at speeds exceeding 80 miles an hour.
According to Zanie's sister, who spoke with ABC7, the police bear some of the blame in this case.
"I just feel like they shouldn't have been pursuing them in the first place," she said, "with the city being so crowded at that moment."
Zanie's best friend takes a different approach, and holds the driver responsible.
"If you take a person on a high-speed chase, honestly you're being selfish," he says.
"You're not thinking about the people that are in the car with you."