Noe Valley Voice June 1997

Driver of Stolen Truck Dies in Crash On 24th Street

By Loren J. Bialik

A drunk driver died May 12 when the stolen truck he was driving down 24th Street toward Diamond struck two vehicles, overturned, and broke up.

"I heard the noise, looked out my kitchen window, and saw the accident," said 24th Street resident Gwen Santos. "The driver was coming down 24th Street in a '50s Ford pickup. He sideswiped one car, shearing off the mirror, then hit a Toyota Land Cruiser. The pickup flipped over on its side. The truck bed went in one direction, and the hood in another."

The accident occurred at 3:37 p.m., tying up traffic for hours. Fortunately, the Land Cruiser was unoccupied, and no bystanders were hurt.

This was the final episode for a man who'd spent the day wreaking havoc on Noe Valley. Less than an hour earlier he'd been seen ripping foliage off a trellis, smashing windows, and stealing from cars in the 23rd and Diamond Street area. Witnesses said he was ranting and talking to himself as he walked up 23rd Street. He even asked a man whose car he was about to vandalize to phone police. (See Officer Lois Perillo's report in Police Beat, page 13.)

The man had stolen the Ford pickup -- from in front of a house on Hoffman -- only minutes before his fatal crash on 24th Street. Police later determined the 29-year-old man had twice the legal limit of alcohol in his bloodstream.

The driver, whose name was not released pending verification of his identity, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:45 p.m. For more than a week after the accident, police reports listed him simply as John Doe #50.

Editor's note: In late May, police confirmed the dead man's identity as Patrick Ryan. Ryan's last-known address was on Woodward Street, near 14th Street in the Mission. Police noted he had past arrests for car theft. Ryan had also been held for psychiatric evaluation, and had reportedly been the victim of domestic abuse.