2nd disabled pedestrian death from hit-and-run at same San Jose intersection this month

A disabled woman was killed in a hit and run accident in South San Jose, the second death of a disabled pedestrian at the same intersection in one month.

According to San Jose Police, the incident happened near Monterey Highway and Curtner Avenue around 8:34 p.m. on Wednesday. Investigators said the woman was using a walker while walking westbound across Monterey Highway and was several hundred feet outside of the closest crosswalk. She was struck by an unknown vehicle and the driver fled the scene. She was pronounced dead at a hospital, making her the 16th victim of a traffic crash in 2021.

On April 1, 37-year-old Vanessa Arce was killed at the same intersection while using a wheelchair. Police said Arce was in a crosswalk and was hit by a car described as a white 2004-2010 Mercedes-Benz CLS. No arrests have been made in the case.

Nikita Sinha with Walk San Jose, a pedestrian safety advocacy group, called the incidents unacceptable.

"I think that's one of the most shocking things about this incident is that two people using assisted mobility devices have been killed at that intersection and that's indicative of that intersection and our streets at large just not being safe for people who have disabilities," Sinha said.

Sinha said fatal pedestrian crashes have been on the rise nationally. In San Jose, 2019 saw a record high year of 29 pedestrian fatalities. She said speed is the most common factor in crashes that result in deaths.

San Jose is working on road design projects as part of its Vision Zero Program, which aims to reduce and eliminate traffic fatalities. Sinha said the program is still in its early stages and it demands the attention of city leaders.

"That means funding, time and resources to go into redesigning streets to make sure that they're safe for all road users not just people driving, but safe for people to walk and bike, especially for people with disabilities," she said.

Anyone with information on the fatal hit and run crash is asked to contact Detective Bown #4461 of the San Jose Police Department’s Traffic Investigations Unit at (408) 277-4654.