Man arrested at hospital after S.F. hit-and-run 

San Francisco police arrested a man Thursday who checked into San Francisco General Hospital after allegedly running from the scene of a car crash, abandoning his injured passenger.

The man, whose identity police have yet to release, ran a red light at 22nd Street while heading north on Guerrero in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo at 10:55 p.m. Thursday, said Inspector Dean Taylor, of the San Francisco Police Department’s hit-and-run detail. The Monte Carlo slammed into a Toyota Camry in the intersection, sending it spinning into another car. Debris from the crash hit a fourth car, Taylor said.

The front passenger in the Monte Carlo suffered critical injuries after his head hit the windshield during the crash, Taylor said. He was not wearing a seat belt. Three of the four occupants of the Camry received minor injuries, Taylor said. A third passenger in the Monte Carlo and the drivers of the other two cars were not hurt, Taylor said.

"There’s been so many accidents [at this corner] I’ve lost count," said Julie, a bartender at The Liberties restaurant at 22nd and Guerrero streets who asked to be identified only by her first name. "Our standard response is, hear the bang, call the cops, wait for help."

But she said Thursday’s crash was so extreme that patrons and staff alike rushed from the restaurant to try to help occupants who were trapped in cars.

Another bartender named Alex immediately dialed 911, Julie said, and then stood in the intersection directing traffic until emergency personnel arrived. "The police were pretty good. They had every corner blocked off straight away," Julie said.

The driver of the Monte Carlo "dragged himself out of the driver’s window and went shooting down 22nd [Street]," Julie said. Police reported that witnesses later identified him in a lineup at San Francisco General Hospital. On Friday afternoon, the man had been released from the hospital and was in custody in San Francisco County Jail on charges of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run.

In 2005, the last year for which comprehensive statistics are available, San Francisco had the eighth highest rate of injury hit-and-runs of the state’s 13 largest cities, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The City ranked eighth for overall injury and fatal crashes and eighth for alcohol-related crashes, but first in DUI arrests, according to the office. It also ranked first in injury accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians.

The intersection of 22nd and Guerrero streets does not rank among the intersections that saw seven or more injury crashes in 2005, according to the Department of Parking and Traffic’s 2005 collision report. The intersection of Ninth and Harrison streets saw the most injury crashes, according to the DPT.

amartin@examiner.com

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