SF to settle pedestrian death lawsuit of disabled rights advocate for $2.9M

The parents of a woman in a wheelchair who was struck and killed last year on Market Street are expected to settle their lawsuit against San Francisco over the death for $2.9 million.

Thu Phan, 38, was killed when crossing Market Street near Seventh Street in her wheelchair after being struck Feb. 5, 2016, at 9:50 a.m. by a Ford sedan. She died the next day at San Francisco General Hospital.

The car was driven by James Harris, who was employed by a city-funded clinic in the South of Market neighborhood.
Harris made “an illegal and unsafe left turn onto westbound Market Street” entering the marked crosswalk and striking Phan who “was lawfully in the crosswalk” on her motorized wheelchair, and she was knocked to the pavement, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed by her parents in San Francisco Superior Court on May 23, 2016.

A memorial sign observed Monday near the scene of her accident reads, “Thu Phan was not only a beloved daughter, sister, cousin and friend, but also a vocal advocate for disabled and workers’ rights.”

The memorial refers viewers to the nonprofit WalkSF.org website, notes that “every 18 hours someone is seriously injured or killed in car crash in San Francisco” and references Vision Zero, The City’s plan to have zero pedestrian deaths by 2024.

Following Phan’s death, transit officials installed new signage, making clear the illegal turns as the signs at the time of the fatality were criticized by pedestrian safety advocates for being unclear.

The proposed settlement was introduced Tuesday to the Board of Supervisors by the City Attorney’s Office and is expected to be approved in subsequent weeks.

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