San Francisco

“He Didn't See the Train:” SF Middle School Student Killed in Fatal Muni Accident

A middle school student was fatally struck Tuesday morning by a Muni light rail vehicle in San Francisco — killed by the train that he was trying to hop on to get a ride to school, a witness said.

The San Francisco medical Examiner's office identified the boy as 12-year-old Andrew Wu. Police had initially identified his age as 11. A woman who answered the family's door said Andrew attended Aptos Middle School, west of Twin Peaks in San Francisco. His parents were too bereft to speak.

Neighbor Jay Hayter told NBC Bay Area that Andrew, who lived nearby, was running across the street on the way to school about 8:30 a.m. to catch the Muni M line train and was trying to avoid an oncoming SUV in the Ingelside neighborhood of Lakeview and San Jose Avenue.

Because the SUV was in the boy's path, Hayter said: "He just got run over by the train, pulled underneath. He didn't see the train."

Andrew was pronounced dead at the scene and firefighters had to remove his body from underneath the Muni light-rail train. His parents were at the scene of the accident, police said.

The boy's mother or aunt were "hysterical," Hayter said, and tried to pull him out from underneath the train. People nearby told them to stop, there was nothing they could do. "I have no words," Hayter said. "It's a child."

Michael Castellino was standing on the corner when he saw Andrew's feet getting dragged underneath the Muni vehicle. "I grabbed ... I went underneath and started shaking him, trying to get him out," he said.

The Muni driver who was driving the vehicle underwent routine testing for drugs and alcohol. Muni spokesperson Paul Rose said the agency will be looking at video from the train to determine what took place on board and outside the train.

San Francisco Unified School District officials do not release information about students without their parents' permission, but Supt. Richard A. Carranza did issued this brief statement" “I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, teachers and other community members affected by this terrible loss. I know we all share in our city’s collective grief today.”

Emergency personnel worked around the scene, blocked off with yellow tape. Near the train, women were crying and a man sat on the stoop dialing his cell phone and breaking out into tears.

Hayter said he thinks the area needs a stop sign or a stop light because "people get hit all the time."

"It's tragic," he said.

Tuesday's tragedy is the second pedestrian accident over the past week. Neighbors said they have long complained about the intersection. The city's program to eliminate pedestrain accidents by 2024 plans to install a flashing yellow light at the intersection by next year.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency director of transportation Ed Reiskin express sympathy to the family in a statement.

"The SFMTA adopted a Vision Zero policy in 2014, with the goal of eliminating all traffic deaths in San Francisco by 2024. We are committed to working with our partners to make our streets safer, while educating the public on traffic safety, enforcing traffic laws and prioritizing resources
to implement initiatives that save lives," Reiskin said.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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