The accident was so sudden and so horrible, it shocked neighbors, witnesses and hardened police investigators.
San Francisco Police responding at 8:27 a.m. Tuesday morning said 12 year-old Andrew Wu ran into a crosswalk at San Jose and Lakeview Avenues. Investigators say Wu pivoted to avoid being struck by a car but instead came into the path of a two-car light rail vehicle.
"He was on his way to school, had his backpack on and everything. So it's just sad. It's just real sad," said witness Jay Hayter. "He didn't see the train and the train didn't see him and he just got hit and drug underneath."
"It's just horrific," said San Francisco Police Department spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. "It's a terrible incident. It's hard to describe when a [child] loses their life like this."
Wu lives in the neighborhood. His mother and father quickly arrived on the scene.
"She was hysterical, she was just trying to move the train, trying to pull the kid out from under the train, she just lost it," said Hayter.
The train had to be lifted to remove the boy's body. The driver was taken off duty, tested for drugs and alcohol and offered counseling. The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency said there were 25 people on the train who were taken off after the incident and asked to provide information on what they saw.
Investigators are also scrutinizing onboard surveillance cameras footage.
"At this point, it's too early to say how fast the LRV was going but we'll look at the video." said SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose.
Grief counseling was also offered to the Wu's classmates at Aptos Middle School.
In a statement, San Francisco School District Superintendent Richard Carranza said "I extend my deepest condolences to the family, friends, teachers and other community members affected by this terrible loss. I know we all share in our city's collective grief today."
It is the city's sixth pedestrian fatality this year. With one stop sign for the three way intersection, neighbors said traffic makes it too dangerous for pedestrians.
"We have complained about the horrendous traffic in that intersection," said Norma Cierra. "I'm horrified to cross that intersection."
"We need a stop sign or a street light on that corner," said Hayter, "because two months ago, another kid that lives across the street got hit by a car."
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency says the last pedestrian injury reported here was in 2008, and that since last year, it has been working on a four way flashing beacon for the intersection.