SAN JOSE, Calif. - A 71-year-old woman is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of felony hit and run in San Jose. Authorities say she was fleeing the scene of one accident, when she caused another.
San Jose Police say Lynn Nguyen was responsible for two hit-and-run collisions in a matter of minutes. One of them proved to be fatal.
"Things just get so much worse when people leave the scene of a crash. In this instance, it caused the fatality of an innocent person who was just traveling on our roadways," says Officer Steve Aponte of the San Jose Police Department.
That innocent person, 35-year-old Hillary Lopez of Fremont, was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
Authorities say Nguyen was fleeing the scene of a previous accident just 1,500 feet away, when her BMW rear ended Lopez's Toyota on Senter Road near Wool Creek.
And then authorities say Nguyen took off again.
"After the collision, the suspect who was later arrested, continued driving northbound until the vehicle became completely inoperable," says Aponte.
This was the 58th traffic fatality in San Jose this year.
That's nearing the city's record of 60 fatalities, set in 2015, the same year its Vision Zero program was created.
"There is absolutely an acknowledgment that this problem is growing in scale," says Colin Heyne, spokesperson with the San Jose Department of Transportation.
Authorities have been trying to understand the numbers. About 70% of these crashes happened in the dark. 36% of those who died have been pedestrians. And 45% of the fatalities have been on the city's priority safety corridors, ones they have earmarked for action.
"So we know we're still looking at the right set of streets. If we address safety on those streets we will be addressing a big part of the problem," says Heyne.
Over the last two years, the city council funded a series of quick build projects in problem areas, as well as an aggressive marketing campaign.
But officials say it will take time to see the benefit of their work.
"These are trends. They take years to build up and years to reduce," says Heyne.
The suspect in that most recent case, Nguyen, suffered only minor injuries and has been booked into the Santa Clara County Main Jail.