San Francisco, CA — A man accused of hitting a Mission District pedestrian with his minivan as she rushed home to watch Grey’s Anatomy was acquitted Monday afternoon of hit-and-run.
Following a three-day trial, Jose Sanchez, 33, of San Francisco was found not guilty of a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident. The jury deliberated 15 minutes before reaching its verdict. Sanchez faced a year in jail if convicted.
His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Lateef Gray, said the jury didn’t believe the testimony of the complaining witness, who gave inconsistent statements on the stand and admitted to a pending lawsuit against a driver in another case in which she claimed to be injured.
The 33-year-old San Francisco woman testified that on May 6, 2010, she hurried across Capp Street at 24th Street on her way home to watch the popular medical drama when Sanchez failed to yield on a right turn, scraping her left arm. Though she presented no medical records to substantiate her claims, the woman told investigators that the accident left her unable to lift things or play a particular piano piece without taking Vicodin.
“She had no trouble using her left arm in court. She also went on a two month-long sailing trip weeks after the alleged accident” Gray said.
Sanchez, who has no criminal record, testified he was unaware of the pedestrian until she began hitting his car, cursing and calling him a Mexican while extending her middle finger. Alarmed by the behavior, the San Francisco father drove away in his minivan. His car was not damaged.
He was later arrested at home after the pedestrian reported his license plate number to police.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi applauded the jury’s decision.
“The pedestrian may always have the right-of-way, but not the right to invent a crime when none occurred,” Adachi said. “In this case, justice was done and Mr. Sanchez can get on with his life.”