A vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco's Cow Hollow neighborhood on Wednesday morning, police said, and school district officials confirmed Thursday the victim was a longtime staff member at Sherman Elementary School.
"We have learned that the person who died in the crash is a beloved staff member of our school, Andrew Zieman, one of our paraeducators," Principal Helen Parker stated in a letter to school families.
Officers responded to the corner of Franklin and Union streets around 7:55 a.m. for a report of a collision involving two vehicles and a pedestrian, according to police.
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There, they located an injured man in his 30s on the ground, as well as the two involved vehicles. Despite live-saving measures by paramedics, the victim was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Investigators determined that a vehicle traveling westbound on Union Street ran a red light at the intersection, causing the collision. They arrested the driver, 70-year-old Susan Vennarucci, at the scene on charges of running a red light and vehicular manslaughter, police said.
Zieman was a student at Sherman himself and meant so much to so many students, families and staff at Sherman, officials said.
"Andrew taught from the heart. He was patient and kind, and always a positive role model," the district letter stated.
Zieman's father said his son made a real impact on everyone he met. He said Zieman loved to write and record music and spend time with his girlfriend.
In a statement, she said the two met five years ago working at the school, adding he was her balance, comfort and light and that her heart would never be the same.
The school was closed Thursday, but district officials said counselors would be on campus Friday as Principal Parker informs students of Zieman's tragic passing.
Supervisor Catherine Stefani, whose district includes the Cow Hollow neighborhood, said on Twitter that she was devastated to hear about the fatal collision.
"I have been in contact with SFPD since early this morning and am following developments very closely," she said. "As details continue to emerge, one thing is clear: as a city, we absolutely must do more to ensure the safety of pedestrians on our streets."
"Our hearts go out to the victim's family and friends," said Jodie Medeiros, executive director of the pedestrian advocacy organization Walk San Francisco. "Too many people are paying the ultimate price for unsafe streets.
The fatality is the city's 12th pedestrian death this year, Walk SF officials said.
Although Franklin Street is not considered to be part of the city's "high-injury network" -- 13% of city streets where 75% of its crashes occur -- the three-lane one-way street is a heavily traveled street and drivers tend to speed as they head north and down a steep hill, Walk SF officials said.
"Speed kills," Medeiros said. "The faster a driver is going, the more likely the crash will cause catastrophic harm to the person who is hit. Dangerous speeds on our streets threaten all of us, and the city has to address this with urgency."
Just last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 43, which gives municipalities the authority to reduce speed limits along more streets.
Once the bill goes into effect in January, several city streets will get speed reductions to 20 mph, including Fillmore, Polk, Valencia, 24th, and Haight streets, as well as Ocean and San Bruno avenues, Walk SF officials said.