14-year-old girl dies after collision along Lake Merced

A 14-year-old girl who was struck by a vehicle at Lake Merced has died.

Madlen Koteva was walking along John Muir Drive on March 15 when she was hit by a vehicle. The native Bulgarian was transported to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, where she died of her injuries on March 25, an attorney representing the family confirmed Tuesday.

Koteva was reportedly walking with her mother when a 91-year-old driver struck the pair, SF Weekly reported. The condition of Koteva’s mother is unknown.

Koteva was known for her infectious smile and boundless enthusiasm, according to friends, who paid their condolences on a GoFundMe page set up by her family to pay for funeral and medical expenses.

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A teacher of Koteva’s said she “brought nothing but sunshine to our school.”

“Her exuberant smile and demeanor reached everyone in her proximity,” wrote another contributor to the GoFundMe campaign.

“She was my best friend from the school,” said Ivona Sutilovic. “I will never forget her.”

The family is not commenting on the incident, the attorney said.

Pedestrian safety has become an increasingly urgent issue in San Francisco, following a recent rash of traffic-related fatalities.

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Last month, a 58-year-old woman died after a driver struck her while she was in a Tenderloin crosswalk. The death occurred just days after a 30-year-old woman was struck and killed by a box truck while riding a Ford GoBike on Howard Street.

In response to the string of pedestrian and cyclist fatalities, Mayor London Breed directed SFMTA, the San Francisco Police Department and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to create better plans for maintaining street safety.

Read Michelle Robertson’s latest stories and send her news tips at michelle.robertson@sfgate.com

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This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/madlen-koteva-pedestrian-dies-lake-merced-14-13736639.php.

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