A man accused of striking and killing a pedestrian in San Francisco’s Castro District last September while driving with a cast on his right foot testified today that he had driven like that for over a month without problems.
Gregg Wilcox, 60, took the stand this morning to testify on his own behalf at his trial on misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges in connection with the death of William Cox, 59, at the intersection of Noe and 14th streets on Sept. 6, 2011.
Wilcox said he “had no problem driving” even though he had to use his left foot to press the gas and brake pedals after getting a large walking boot placed on his right foot on Aug. 2 when he was diagnosed with a stress fracture.
He said the cast played no role in the collision, which occurred when he was turning left from southbound Noe Street onto 14th Street in his 2004 Ford Explorer and struck Cox, who was walking in the crosswalk.
“I had very, very close dexterity (with the left foot compared to the right) and control of the car,” Wilcox said.
The testimony turned emotional when Wilcox recounted striking Cox.
“I saw Mr. Cox on top of my car. His face was looking into my face,” he said and started to sob, prompting San Francisco Superior Court Judge Susan Breall to call a short recess in the trial.
When the testimony resumed, Wilcox said Cox rolled off the hood of the car and that he felt both his left front and rear wheels run over him.
“One instant he was there, the next he was gone,” he said.
Under cross-examination by Assistant District Attorney Mary Plomin, Wilcox defended not braking immediately upon striking Cox.
“I felt the car could conceivably end up on top of Mr. Cox,” he said, adding that he immediately pulled over to the curb after the collision.
“My mind was saying ‘Get to the curb, get out and render aid,'” he said.
Wilcox, who is out of custody on $10,000 bail, said he works in construction management but also formerly worked as a deputy director for the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. City documents show he was the deputy director of the agency’s transportation development division.
Earlier today, Wilcox’s physician, Dr. Bob Salk, testified that he typically tells patients wearing walking boots that it’s not safe to drive.
“It’s a bulky device,” Salk said.
However, the doctor said he did not recall discussing the issue with Wilcox.
Wilcox’s attorney, Rafael Trujillo, also pointed out that the user guide for the walking boot did not include a prohibition on driving.
Testimony in the trial was continuing this afternoon. The case is off on Friday but will resume next week.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News