Car crash that killed WWII veteran in San Francisco sends man to prison 

Isaac Hudson, 84, was killed in a hit-and-rush crash in the Excelsior district in San Francisco on Nov. 11, 2009. - ISAAC HUDSON, 84, WAS KILLED IN A HIT-AND-RUSH CRASH IN THE EXCELSIOR DISTRICT IN SAN FRANCISCO ON NOV. 11, 2009.
  • Isaac Hudson, 84, was killed in a hit-and-rush crash in the Excelsior district in San Francisco on Nov. 11, 2009.
  • Isaac Hudson, 84, was killed in a hit-and-rush crash in the Excelsior district in San Francisco on Nov. 11, 2009.

A crash that killed an elderly World War II veteran at an Excelsior district intersection on Veteran’s Day in 2009 has resulted in a four-year prison sentence for the driver who fled the scene.

Arthur Clark Jr., 22, was sentenced Friday after pleading guilty to felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for the Nov. 11, 2009, crash that killed 84-year-old Isaac Hudson, attorneys said.

Hudson’s Ford Escort was hit by a Lexus driven by Clark at the intersection of Alemany Boulevard and Congdon Street just after midnight. After the crash, Clark and others in the Lexus fled the scene,
prosecutors said.

Clark was arrested nine days after the crash on unrelated marijuana possession and probation violation charges, and was charged soon after for Hudson’s death. His DNA was found on the Lexus’ deployed air bag, and his car contained a jail bracelet from his prior stay at San Francisco County Jail, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors originally charged Clark with felony vehicular manslaughter, saying the Lexus had run a red light at nearly 70 mph.

But that charge was whittled down to a misdemeanor, in part due to an investigation that cast doubt on which car had entered the intersection illegally, and at what speed, Clark’s attorney Deputy Public Defender Steve Olmo said Monday. He said both cars were later determined to have been going at about the speed limit.

“Who ran the red light?” Olmo asked. “Nobody knows.”

Investigators disagreed about how fast Clark had been driving, District Attorney’s Office spokesman Omid Talai said.

“But there is no doubt that his reckless actions killed a decorated World War II veteran,” Talai said. “Through his plea, the defendant not only admits feloniously leaving the scene but unlawfully killing a human being while driving a vehicle.”

Olmo said Clark was remorseful about fleeing the crash.

“It was just a real tragedy,” Olmo said. “Just a sad situation for everyone involved.”

Born in Memphis, Tenn., Hudson was a U.S. Army veteran awarded medals for his service in the Battle of Normandy, the Rhineland Campaign and the Ardennes Offensive in World War II.He later attended the University of San Francisco, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public administration.

aburack@sfexaminer.com

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