There’s a mini-storm of social media outrage after DA Brooke Jenkins brokered a settlement where the driver who killed a four-year-old girl near the Caltrain station last August will get just two years probation, community service, and a safety class.

You may recall a heartbreaking story from last August when a four-year-old girl was hit by a car and killed at Fourth and King Streets near the Caltrain station, as her parents were pushing her in a stroller on the pedestrian crossing. The family with the little girl had the right of way, so SF police arrested the driver and charged that 71-year-old driver Karen Cartagena with vehicular manslaughter.  

The case was just resolved Wednesday, and KGO was first to report that Cartagena was not sentenced to jail time, and instead got two years probation, 400 hours of community service, and the requirement to complete a driver’s education class. And what’s really rankling people on this one is that Cartagena will not lose her driver’s license, and will be able to just start driving again once she’s taken the driver safety class.

Are you familiar with the Twitter concept of a “ratio”? One example of a ratio is seen in the Chronicle’s tweet for their report on this above, which as of press time, has 42 Likes, but 76 comments and 120 quote-tweets, most of them furious.

We’ll get to some of those irate responses, but first let’s look at DA Jenkins's explanation of why she went with just a misdemeanor charge of vehicular homicide and the very lenient sentence where the 71-year-old driver who killed a little girl is allowed to drive again.

“After consultation with the victim's family, we worked to resolve this case expeditiously, in line with the family's wishes, and with their support, reached a negotiated disposition rather than going to trial,” Jenkins’s office said in a statement. “Although nothing that we do can bring their beloved daughter and granddaughter back, I hope that this settlement brings them some solace as they work to heal and rebuild their lives in the wake of the terrible tragedy last summer.”

There are the extenuating circumstances that Cartagena cooperated with authorities, and apparently wrote a nice apology letter.

And her attorney says people were honking at Cartagena to turn, if that’s compelling at all. "At the time of the incident, there was circumstantial evidence that suggested that Ms. Cartagena should continue driving, take the right turn based on indications from a traffic signal operator,” that attorney Greg Mendez told KGO. “At least one person behind her was honking her horn indicating that she was holding up traffic and that she should continue driving."

But pedestrian proponents are outraged. "Cars are muli-ton machines that can easily kill or maim people in seconds, and it's critical that people understand that driving a car is a dangerous activity and that killing or injuring a person with a car is a crime that has serious consequences," sustainable transit activist Luke Bornheimer said in a Thursday statement to SFist. "This settlement and the lenient punishment for the car driver associated with it set a dangerous precedent for roadway safety in San Francisco and throughout our country."

There has been one change made in the wake of this fatal crash. The Fourth and King streets intersection no longer has the two right-turn lanes, as it had in the Google Street View image seen below (taken in January 2023). For what it’s worth, now Fourth Street eastbound only has one right-turn lane at the intersection.

Image: Google Street View

Note: This post has been updated with additional comment.

Related: Four-Year-Old Girl In Stroller Struck and Killed Near Caltrain Station In SF [SFist]

Image: Google Street View