SAN FRANCISCO — A roadside memorial to a woman who was killed by a hit-and-run driver on New Year’s Eve has been repeatedly vandalized, according to Dion Lim, a news anchor and reporter for KGO-TV, the Bay Area’s ABC affiliate.
Hanako Abe, a 27-year old-computer data and real estate analyst who had moved to San Francisco in 2018, was struck while crossing the street at the intersection of Second and Mission and died shortly after being taken to a local hospital. Elizabeth Platt, 60, was also killed.
The driver, Troy McAlister, 45, was arrested after fleeing the scene. His next court appearance is on Jan. 20. The district attorney and other authorities have been criticized over the fact that McAlister, on parole for burglary, had been arrested for car theft, possession of burglary tools and parole violation, yet was not charged and remained free.
Friends set up a memorial near the site of the accident with two wreaths, letters to Abe and signs, one of which read, “R.I.P. 12/31/2020.”
“Friends want to rename a nearby street as a more permanent way to honor her.
“Many told me the desecrated memorial is symbolism of the problems in San Francisco.”
“I’m just overwhelmed and shocked by how someone could do something like this at such a time,” said a friend of Abe who only gave his first name, Jason.
Police said they are seeking the public’s help in identifying any suspects in the vandalism.
To see Lim’s report on ABC7, click here: https://abc7ne.ws/3bJ8fNB
A Go Fund Me campaign (https://www.gofundme.com/f/hanako-abe) has been set up to help Abe’s family cover the expenses of sending her body back to her native Japan.
The team behind the campaign said on Sunday, “Thank you so much for helping us raise $140K for the Abe family! We wanted to announce that Hana’s family is holding a public memorial service for Hana on Friday, Jan. 22. The exact time is still being confirmed and we shall post an update as soon as we know. The location is at Hana’s memorial site (Second & Mission street) in San Francisco and the street will be closed to maintain social distancing.
“Unfortunately, Hana’s memorial site was recently vandalized, so please feel free to bring fresh flowers to help replace the ones that were damaged. We also ask that if you would like to attend the memorial event, please wear masks and stay socially distant. We’d like to ensure that the event remains respectfully focused on Hana and her memory.”