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The man killed in the fiery crash in Livermore Thursday morning has been identified as Reed Whittaker, an EMT from Contra Costa County.
Whittaker worked with Royal Ambulance of San Leandro and was driving his Jeep Cherokee on Interstate 580 Thursday morning when the driver of a hummer crashed into him from behind.
That driver was identified as Primitivo Garcia of Livermore. Garcia and a passenger in the Hummer escaped the crash with minor injuries.
Police say Garcia smelled of alcohol after the crash and failed a field sobriety test.
"I thought he was just distraught, he could hardly stand. I thought he was either distraught or injured. I didn't realize he would have been drunk," said Karl Luchsinger, a construction worker who described what he saw.
"It's absolutely heartbreaking," said Jody Iorns, executive director of Mothers against Drunk Driving.
Iorns said DUI accidents are 40 percent higher during the holiday season and that Thursday’s deadly accident is a somber reminder that drunk drivers are on the road at all hours of the day.
"These crashes happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone," said Iorns.
Steve Grau, the owner of Royal Ambulance tells KTVU Whittaker has worked for the company three years and that he trained other EMT's.
Grau described Whittaker as being passionate about his work and that he was an excellent human being.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:29:05 -0800
New statistics show more than 500 pedestrians have been injured or killed in San Francisco in 2013. While those numbers are on pace to be a slight improvement over 2012, safety advocates say there’s still a long way to go.
According to the numbers gathered by San Francisco Police, 529 pedestrians were injured and another 13 were killed through October 22, 2013. 594 were injured and 16 were killed over the same period of time last year.
The numbers work out to about two pedestrians hit a day.
One victim who survived his injuries is small business owner Soren Krogh-Jensen. He was hit by a black SUV in March when he was crossing 2nd Street at Townsend Street. Almost nine months later, he's still suffering the effects of a brain injury, with no sense of smell or taste.
"Really, I wake up, there's nothing. Either it's mushy or it's crunchy, whatever I eat," said Krogh-Jensen.
Despite, the slight decline in pedestrians hit in 2013, safety advocates with Walk San Francisco say there's more work to be done. Executive Director Nicole Schneider argues that many injuries go unreported.
“We see that there are more people in the hospital than are in those collision reports," said Schneider.
Personal injury attorney Dale Minami told KTVU he's handling more vehicle vs. pedestrian cases now than he's ever had in 42 years of practice.
"I first started seeing this phenomenon in Japan Town and these elderly Japanese-Americans were getting creamed in the streets," said Minami. "And then I saw the same phenomenon repeated in Chinatown and then it became epidemic around the city."
Michael Hanna is one of Minami's clients who considers himself lucky. He was hit by a red light runner on California Street in November of 2012, but he was not seriously injured.
"I feel like if I were even just a little shorter or had taken one more step, I would be under the truck instead of here," said Hanna. "It's scary."
The driver who's accused of hitting Krogh-Jensen, triathlete Meredith Kessler, is now facing a felony hit and run charge for leaving the scene of the accident.
"Based on what I've been through, it's only fair that justice is served," said Krogh-Jensen.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:12:28 -0800
Authorities in Seattle are looking into a possible connection between a large-scale wine theft there last month and a similar heist at a San Francisco wine shop earlier this year.
Seattle police have arrested two suspects in the past two weeks in connection with a Nov. 28 theft of up to $650,000 worth of wine from wine retailer Esquin Wine Merchants in a Seattle neighborhood, according to court documents.
Luke Thesing, 35, was charged Monday in King County Superior Court with arson and burglary. The week before co-defendant Samuel Harris, 34, was arrested and charged on the same counts, according to King County prosecutors.
The pair allegedly had cut gas lines at the store in an attempt to start a fire at the facility after taking the wine, prosecutors said.
Both suspects remain in custody on $500,000 bail.
Seattle investigators are looking into a connection with a March 26 overnight theft from a wine store in the 2200 block of Palou Avenue in San Francisco, San Francisco police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza said.
Fine Wines International is located in that block at 2230 Palou Ave.
In that burglary, tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of wine bottles were taken from an interior fridge at the facility, Esparza said.
The next day on March 27, the employee arrived at the building and found cuts in the rollup doors in the rear of the building, and that the wine had been taken.
San Francisco police have yet to name any suspects in the March wine theft, Esparza said Thursday.
Esparza said Seattle police have been in contact with San Francisco police about the burglary as part of their investigation.Thu, 12 Dec 2013 23:00:17 -0800 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories