On Sunday around 2 p.m., police say the driver of a Tesla ran a red light on Taylor St. at O'Farrell St., in the Tenderloin and then plowed into the couple.
After hours of questioning, SFPD walked the suspected Tesla driver, a 22-year-old woman, from Hotel Spero into the back of a waiting squad car around 7:30 pm. Police say the suspected driver has both San Francisco and Vallejo addresses.
Police walking the driver of the Tesla out in cuffs. Per @SFPD: she’s 22, has SF and Vallejo addresses, she’s cooperating. Booking charges: running a red light and involuntary vehicular manslaughter, after the rented Tesla hit 2 pedestrians, killing one and injuring the other. pic.twitter.com/Jogmcg7aa4— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) July 22, 2019
"We do not know if it was in autonomous mode or what type of mode or if she was in control of the vehicle," said SFPD Traffic Division Sgt. Frank Harrell.
What police do know, is that after running the red light, the Tesla driver broadsided a Mini Cooper, and then hit the married couple who were walking in the crosswalk.
The husband, 39-year-old Benjamin Dean, was killed. His wife was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she is in critical condition.
The couple is from Clovis in the Central Valley and the wife's Facebook page indicates they were in San Francisco celebrating their anniversary.
SFPD says the driver of this Tesla ran a red light at O’Farrell @2pm. @SFPD says she was driving up Taylor 15-20MPH above the posted speed limit. Tesla hit the mini, then a couple in the crosswalk, then a parked SUV. Man was killed and his wife is critical - visiting from Clovis. pic.twitter.com/qLBx4LZSrP— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) July 22, 2019
Kate Larsen, ABC7 News: "About how fast do you think she (the Tesla driver) was going?"
Sgt. Frank Harrell: "Based on the damage, of the impact of the vehicle, I'm estimating 45 plus."
Kate Larsen, ABC7 News: "What's the posted speed limit?"
Sgt. Frank Harrell: "25 to 30 miles per hour."
After hitting the couple, the Tesla hit a parked SUV and came to rest on the sidewalk in front of Hotel Spero.
Police say surveillance video and data recording technology in the Tesla will provide more evidence.
Police tell me the driver of the Tesla lives in San Francisco and was renting the Tesla. She’s not hurt and is being interviewed near the scene by police. pic.twitter.com/eZEluW5jUG— Kate Larsen (@KateABC7) July 22, 2019
"Definitely criminal charges will be filed," said Sgt. Harrell.
"Tesla app sent me a message that my car was not driveable and is in accident," explained Albert Kim, who owns the Tesla involved in the crash. Kim says he rents out the Model 3 and another Tesla through Get Around, a car rental sharing service.
Kim says someone rented his now wrecked Tesla for 24 hours on Saturday afternoon, but does not blame the driver for the wreck. "I'm very sad that self driving technology still not approved for me or for her to drive autonomously through the city and prevent people from killing other people, or people's mistakes kill other people."
The driver of the Tesla has been booked for running a red light and for involuntary vehicular manslaughter. Police say she was cooperating with them and that drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor.
Police are looking into whether the wrecked Tesla was involved in other crimes over the weekend.
The driver of the Mini Cooper is not hurt.