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Bloody San Francisco death investigation may be linked to crash outside city limits

San Francisco police set up a cordon at Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street on Thursday morning. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

San Francisco police were investigating a fatal traffic collision Thursday involving multiple scenes, including one near the Central Freeway in the city's SoMa neighborhood where a bloody object could be seen on the ground.

Authorities are investigating whether the incident originated outside city limits some nine miles away at the Grand Avenue exit from U.S. 101-South in South San Francisco.

Sgt. Sean Curmi, a spokesperson for the South San Francisco Police Department, said authorities believe the scenes in San Francisco and South San Francisco may be related, but continue to investigate.

“We did not locate a body in South San Francisco,” Curmi said. “But there were body parts or indications that a pedestrian was hit in that area.”

A San Francisco police spokesperson said officers responded at 7:36 a.m. to the area of Harrison and 13th streets regarding an incident involving a traffic collision.

Police later confirmed the collision involved a fatality.

A bloody object could be seen on the road at Alameda Street behind a police barricade at around 10:30 a.m.

A bloody object can be seen on the road at Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street on Thursday morning. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

Police barricades were seen in the morning at Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street, Potrero Avenue and 15th Street, and on Division and Harrison streets.

In comments Thursday afternoon to The Standard, a CHP spokesman said investigators were working to determine a possible relationship between a reported fatal collision involving multiple vehicles in South San Francisco.

In that collision, a 911 caller at 6:19 a.m. told police a pedestrian had been hit near the Grand Avenue exit from U.S. 101-South, the spokesman said. But when first responders arrived at that scene minutes later, CHP investigators say they found evidence of a fatal encounter but no body.

The County of San Mateo Coroner's Office confirmed an active investigation into the matter but said they could not release the victim's identity yet.

What appears to be a forensic investigation tent has been erected under the Central Freeway at Harrison and Division streets on Thursday morning by police. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

"We believe multiple vehicles struck the pedestrian at that location," CHP Officer Mark Andrews said, adding that the roadway's right-side and exit lanes at Grand Avenue were closed for investigation until reopening at 11:25 a.m. "None of those vehicles stayed at the scene."

Andrews said investigators were waiting on coroner's officials to run tests to determine if the recovered body was connected to the South San Francisco collision. Anyone with information, or who can provide dash-camera footage from between 6:15 and 6:30 a.m. in the area, should call the CHP's San Francisco office at 415-557-1094.

A van from the San Francisco Chief Medical Examiner's Office appeared to collect human remains before leaving the scene at 10:48 a.m. The office, which deals with the city's death investigations, did not respond to a request for comment.

A van from the Chief Medical Examiner's Office appeared to collect human remains at Potrero Avenue and Alameda Street on Thursday. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

The northbound section of Potrero Avenue at 15th Street was closed as of 10:30 a.m., while westbound lanes on Division Street at the corner of Harrison Street were closed at around 8 a.m. Thursday morning.

California Highway Patrol investigators arrived on the scene at Division and Harrison streets by 11 a.m.

CHP investigators arrive on the scene of an incident under the Central Freeway on Division Street on Thursday morning. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

All roadways were reopened to traffic shortly after noon.

George Kelly can be reached at gkelly@sfstandard.com