Three S.F. pedestrian deaths in past three days 

A San Francisco man was charged with murder Tuesday after he allegedly ran down a man on foot with whom he got into an argument in a crosswalk.

Police said they arrested 25-year-old Hamilton Diaz after witnesses helped identify him as the driver of a car that ran up onto the Valencia Street sidewalk and ran down an unidentified man at about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

The incident marked the third vehicular death in San Francisco in as many days.

At 2 a.m. Sunday, 59-year-old Arie Mudd was killed on U.S. Highway 101 when he stopped to change a tire. On Tuesday, 20-year-old Ka W. Hwang, of Daly City, was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter and two counts of DUI with death.

Also Sunday, a J-Church San Francisco Municipal Railway train killed 40-year-old Edwardo Funes near 18th and Church streets at 4:34 p.m. in what police are calling a suicide.


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Tuesday’s incident started when Diaz, who was driving south on Valencia, made a left turn onto 16th Street while the victim and a friend were in the 16th Street crosswalk, police Sgt. Neville Gittens said.

The victim and Diaz apparently got into an argument, during which Diaz got out of the car.

"At some point, the victim punched the car," Gittens said.

After the argument, Diaz got back into his car and the victim began to walk north on Valencia, Gittens said.

Diaz allegedly did several U-turns before running his car up onto the Valencia Street sidewalk and hitting the victim from behind, Gittens said. The victim’s friend was not hurt.

Witnesses to the incident called police and provided a description of the suspect’s car, Gittens said.

"The description of the vehicle was broadcast, and members of the Gang Task Force who happened to be in the area located the vehicle and the suspect was taken into custody," he said.

Police have not characterized this incident as road rage. A motive has not yet been made public.

Diaz was charged with one count each of murder, assault with a deadly weapon, fleeing the scene of an injury accident and a parole violation.

Diaz, also known as "Giovanni," is on parole for setting an apartment building at 2704 24th St. ablaze on Sept. 30, 2003.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim in this incident," wrote Manish Champsee, a spokesman for the pedestrian advocacy group Walk San Francisco, in a statement Tuesday.

Last year, 29-year-old Omeed Popal, of Fremont, stunned San Francisco when he drove his Honda Pilot sport utility vehicle through The City’s streets and sidewalks, allegedly targeting pedestrians and injuring 18 people on Aug. 29.

On Dec. 20, 2006, 42-year-old Craig Campbell, of San Francisco, allegedly hit five cars and injured four people in what police characterized as a "road rage" incident.

amartin@examiner.com

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