Eight people were injured, two critically, after a runaway car sped backwards and ploughed into pedestrians in the heart of Soho this evening.
According to dashcam footage and witnesses on the scene, the white SUV rolled down Peel Street at high speed and crashed into the Pak Kung Temple steps at the junction with Staunton Street.
Six foreigners and two locals aged 24 to 51 were hurt. Two women, both foreign according to police, were taken to Queen Mary Hospital unconscious with serious head injuries, while six others – two women and four men – were taken to Queen Mary conscious. One of the seriously injured women, 31, has since regained consciousness while the other, 27, remains critical.
According to police, the driver, a 44-year old “foreign woman”, had parked the vehicle, illegally, on Peel Street.
“After the driver and a female passenger disembarked, the vehicle suddenly slipped and rushed to the junction of Peel Street and Staunton Street.”
The driver, who police did not name, has been arrested on suspicion of dangerous driving causing serious bodily injury to others and is being detained for investigation.
Journalist Elizabeth Utley on the scene said on Twitter she heard “glass and metal crunching and ran out to see a person trapped under the car. People rallied really quickly to pull them out thankfully.”
Video footage shows about a dozen passersby manhandling the car, which was teetering backwards on the edge of the Pak Kung Temple steps.
— Elizabeth Utley (@Elizabeth_Utley) December 10, 2021
Also on the scene was Dennis Philipse, founder and chairman of a major sporting event in the city, who said the aftermath was “really shocking” and called for the street to be pedestrianised. “It’s really time to close Staunton Street [to traffic] at the weekends and at night – too many cars, taxis and pedestrians,” he wrote on LinkedIn.
District Councillor Paul Zimmerman agreed. “Everyone – write to Carrie Lam and every media – call for pedestrianisation of (upper) Peel, Staunton and Elgin Street during evenings every day, and afternoons plus evenings on public holidays and Sundays … ?” he replied to Philipse’s post.
The government had discussed plans to pedestrianise parts of Soho under its 2018-2020 Walk HK scheme, but despite spending $13.9 million on consultancy studies with Mott MacDonald has since reneged on pledges and deleted the consultancy study from the walk.hk website. in fact the Walk HK website now directs to a Transport Department page.
Transport Department officials were not available for comment.
The crash happened three years to the day since an unoccupied school bus rolled down Cheung Hong Street in North Point, killing four people and injuring 11 as it came to a halt across a pavement adjacent to the State Theatre.
*update 11 December 11:30pm- police report the 27-year-old French lady critically injured in the crash died of her injuries at 6:35pm tonight. The 44-year-old driver has been charged with dangerous driving causing death and will appear at Eastern Magistrates Court on Monday.