A driver who hit and killed a pedestrian crossing a busy street in San Francisco’s Parkside neighborhood was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, police said Wednesday. The crosswalk near where Berenzon was struck features warning lights that flash when a pedestrian hits a button to cross, but police have not said whether the lights were in use at the time of the crash. According to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, Ching has a good driving record with no recent history of tickets, accidents or departmental actions.
Motor vehicle operators in California need to realize that failure to yield for pedestrians in and near crosswalks not only exposes them to civil liability for personal injuries and wrongful death but, may also constitute the crime of vehicular manslaughter. Cal. law defines vehicular manslaughter, in pertinent part, as follows:
“driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawful manner, and with gross negligence.” Cal. Pen. Code 192c
Gross negligence is defined as being reckless with regard to the safety of others.
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