Citizens assist in arrest
of San Francisco cyclist hit-and-run suspect
By Tamara Barak
June 18, 2007
Courageous citizens are to thank for an Emeryville man's arrest
in a Sunday night hit-and run in San Francisco that injured two
people, authorities reported today.
The incident began at 11 p.m. at the corner of Market and Octavia
streets, said San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina.
Giorgos Vassiliades, 36, of Emeryville, was driving his 2005
Ford Focus eastbound on Market Street when he allegedly made an
illegal right turn onto an onramp that connects to southbound
U.S. Highway 101 and eastbound Interstate Highway 80.
As Vassiliades made the turn, he struck a cyclist riding eastbound
on Market Street, police said. The cyclist suffered minor injuries.
Vassiliades pulled onto a nearby highway island where a witness
ran up to his driver's side window, according to police.
"At some point (Vassiliades) decides he's going to leave.
The witness grabs the steering wheel and tries to make him stop,"
The two men struggled for control of the moving car, which eventually
rolled over on its left side and pinned the witness' legs underneath
it, Mannina said.
Other citizens ran to the man's aid, and were able to right the
vehicle, freeing him. The witness suffered minor injuries.
Meanwhile, Vassiliades had sped off toward the Bay Bridge, Mannina
said. A motorist followed him across the Bay, while on the phone
with a 911 operator.
Vassiliades was arrested by Emeryville police and is facing one
count of felony hit-and-run, Mannina said. He was booked into
San Francisco County Jail.
In January, a cyclist was critically injured by a pickup truck
carrying cement that made an illegal right turn in the same location.
The cyclist has since recovered from her injuries.
Plastic spikes were installed in the intersection to deter motorists
making illegal right turns, along with stepped up enforcement
and more visible signage.
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