San Francisco, CA
Four members of the Greek Orthodox Metropolis of San Francisco Folk Dance and Choral Festival Management Team were involved in a serious automobile accident in San Francisco on Sunday, February 3, 2019. Two young adults have been discharged from the hospital and have returned to their homes in southern California. One young adult required emergency surgery and remains hospitalized. The other young adult suffered a broken arm and will require surgery in the coming days. Two other Greek Orthodox faithful were also in the vehicle and sustained minor injuries and are expected to make a full recovery.
“When I was contacted early Sunday morning I was extremely distraught upon learning of the severity of this accident,” stated His Eminence Metropolitan Gerasimos of San Francisco. “These young adults are very committed and loving Greek Orthodox Christians and it is by the grace of God and His Mighty Hand that they were protected from more serious harm. We send our love and prayers to these brave young people, beseeching the Lord’s blessings for their peace and comfort as they recover from this ordeal.”
Metropolitan Gerasimos, who was in southern California visiting the Saint Paul parish in Irvine this weekend, shared that Father Stephen Kyriacou (Annunciation Cathedral – San Francisco), Father Aris Metrakos (Holy Trinity – San Francisco), and Father John Kocolas (Nativity of Christ – Novato) all went to the hospital to offer prayers and support to these young adults who live away from San Francisco and do not have family in the immediate area. Other members of the FDF Management Team who live in the vicinity have also mobilized to assist their peers during this time of great need.
A wrong-way driver hit three vehicles leading to two fatalities and nine people injured. Local reports from emergency crews indicated that the “jaws of life” tool was needed to extricate several of the people from the vehicles following this deadly collision.
FDF Board of Trustees Chairman Rev. Father Gary Kyriacou remarked, “We have an incredible group of young adults on our Management Team and they have bonded like family. We are grateful and overwhelmed by the outpouring of prayer and concern. This year’s FDF theme is “STAND”, and we stand behind these amazing young adults and we will stand strong for our FDF family now and always!”
“It is at times like this we are reminded how fragile and precious life is. We must remain fervent in prayer for all those as they recover, and to be grateful for the blessings of every day,” shared Father Gary Kyriacou.
The crash was reported around 2:35 a.m. Sunday near Alemany Boulevard.
California Highway Patrol officer Bert Diaz said a woman in a Volkswagen sedan was driving south in the northbound lanes and hit three cars: two just south of Cesar Chavez Street and the last one a minivan hit head-on “adjacent to Alemany Boulevard.”
The Volkswagen driver — identified as a San Jose woman in her early 20s — was ejected from her car and died. The minivan’s driver was also killed, and nine other people were injured.
According to KGO-TV, the minivan driver was Waheed Etimad, 40, of Concord.
A GoFundMe campaign set up by a family friend Sunday said Etimad, the sole breadwinner for his wife and seven children, came to America after working with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan. As of 11:15 p.m. Sunday, the fund-raising page has raised more than $31,000 toward a $70,000 goal.
Etimad’s minivan had six other people in it. A passenger in the front seat was critically injured and taken to a hospital. The five other van passengers were injured and taken to hospitals for evaluation, but their injuries were not considered as serious.
Details about the other people injured were not available, Diaz said.
The northbound lanes of 101 were closed until just after 10 a.m. Sunday. Northbound Interstate 280 at the 101 interchange was also closed for several hours.
Diaz said it’s possible the wrong-way driver entered 101 from Vermont Street.