San Jose police investigate deadly hit-and-run, 42nd traffic fatality of 2021

San Jose Police are looking for a hit and run driver following a fatal accident Thursday night. Police say the driver ran a red light and struck two cars, then ran from the scene.

It happened at the corner of 10th and Santa Clara Streets. 

At the scene, a young man helped pull three people from the wreckage. A fourth person was already dead.

"He was just living a couple minutes ago and now he's dead on the ground you know," said the man.

The death marks the 42nd traffic fatality in San Jose this year. At this time last year, there had only been 29. And police say hit and run numbers are way up too.

"The total hit and run numbers for 2021 is currently at 12 as of last night. The total number of hit and runs last year in 2020 was 9. Obviously this is an alarming rate difference as we haven't even finished the year out," says San Jose police officer Steve Aponte.

The pandemic did lower numbers in 2020 with fewer people on the roads. But city officials say, not by much.

And so they're taking this seriously. Officials are in the middle of a city-wide review of crash data. They hope to identify problem areas within the city. 

They also have increased funding to put toward intersection modifications and community outreach.

"But no matter how quick we build these projects or how convincing our outreach and education programs are, a lot of it boils down to personal accountability," says Colin Heyne, spokesperson with San Jose's Department of Transportation.

At the Braid it Up Salon, people we spoke with said they'd like to see someone held accountable. The crash sent a car through their window.

"The green mailbox was inside of my lobby. Car parts were inside of my lobby. A lot of shattered glass from the windows that I've repaired four times already from being on this corner yes," said Robin Hunt-Fitzhugh of Braid It Up Hair Salon.

They say this intersection is definitely a problem, with too many speeders, drag racers and red light runners.

"Yes, cameras would be nice on this intersection as well," says Hunt-Fitzhugh.

Authorities spent part of the day Friday looking for video of the crash.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact the San Jose police department.