1 dead, 13 injured in apparent hit-and-run spree by San Francisco motorist


Tuesday, August 29th 2006, 9:52 pm
By: News On 6


SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The driver of a sport utility vehicle plowed across sidewalks and crosswalks throughout the city Tuesday, killing one man and injuring at least 13 people in a series of attacks on pedestrians and motorists.

The man struck people in 12 locations until police surrounded him with squad cars, authorities said.

The spree began around noon in Fremont, where a man walking along the side of the road was hit by an SUV. He was thrown into a field and killed, police Sgt. Chris Mazzone said.

The driver then crossed the bay into San Francisco, where he injured at least 13 people during a 20-minute hit-and-run spree, police said.

The victims were taken to three hospitals. One was in critical condition.

"These are the things, these are so senseless. They're utterly inexplicable. They're impossible to rationalize," Mayor Gavin Newsom said.

The rampage ended when police arrested the man in the Presidio Heights district. The black SUV was still in the middle of the street an hour later, its front end and windshield smashed in.

The driver's name was not immediately released, but Department of Motor Vehicles records show the license plate on the SUV registered to Omeed A. Popal of Fremont.

An aide to the mayor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the open investigation said Popal was the suspect in custody.

The mayhem left a trail of debris on sidewalks and streets. White sheets covered a bloodstained patch of concrete. A broken pair of eyeglasses lay in the middle of the road. And a lone running shoe sat on the asphalt cordoned off by yellow tape.

No weapons were found on the suspect, though the car had not been searched, said Sgt. Neville Gittens. There was no information on whether drugs or alcohol were involved, and it was unclear how fast he was driving, he said.

"It was very chaotic," Gittens said.