A 70-year-old woman has been taken into police custody in connection with Wednesday’s pedestrian crash in Cow Hollow, which took the life of a 30-year-old paraeducator.
As ABC 7 reports, the SFPD arrested Susan Vennarucci, 70, and she’s facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and running a red light. According to police, 30-year-old Andrew Zieman, a paraeducator at Sherman Elementary School, was killed on a sidewalk when Vennarucci failed to stop, and proceeded through the intersection while driving westbound on Union Street. Vennarucci’s car reportedly struck another vehicle, and one of the vehicles jumped the curb and pinned Zieman against a wall.
San Francisco Supervisor Catherine Stefani’s office had earlier indicated that manslaughter charges might be filed, and the collision was witnessed by many — as children were just being dropped for school Wednesday morning when it happened.
As one mom of a first-grader, Jessica Klein, told ABC 7, “This could have been a kid so easily, and I think all the parents and the staff are extremely relieved that it wasn’t a kid, but it’s still heartbreaking that it was a teacher.”
Klein also said she witnessed the aftermath of the crash right after dropping off her son at the school, saying, “It was really shocking to see him lying there.”
Friends and family of Zieman, a San Francisco native, were already gathering Thursday to mourn, as KTVU reported.
Adrienne Yang, Zieman’s girlfriend, told the station, regarding the intersection where the crash happened, “Cars just fly down that hill,” adding that there have been multiple accidents there.
Zieman was working as a paraeducator at the elementary school he went to, working with children with autism and other disabilities, while working toward his teaching credential. He was reportedly taking classes at City College.
“Andrew was a wonderful person, very smart, all he wanted to do was help people. He was really, really a good kid and that’s what makes it really hurt,” says one of Zieman’s cousins, Peter Cimarelli, to ABC 7.
Andrew was the only child of Maridine and Richard Zieman, and they told ABC 7 that they are devastated.
Supervisor Stefani has suggested that “possible interventions to reduce traffic speeds along this corridor” are being discussed, “including new speed bumps, wider sidewalks, lane reductions, illuminated crosswalks, additional bulb outs, and lower speed limits.”