What the Hell Happened on Manchester Street?




Six cars parked along the steep upper reaches of Manchester Street were damaged last night on Friday in a kinetic accident that caused several cars to pancake together. Ouch.

The incident happened on the steep, dead-end block of Manchester below Bernal Hill, just south of Stoneman. Neighbor Simon broke the story via an email to Bernalwood:

Returning home from a weekend away to find the evidence of some dramatic event on Manchester above Stoneman. Half a dozen cars are smashed up and pushed into each other like dominoes. Runaway car? Angry drunk? Malicious joy-riders? WTF?!?

Incredulous, we dispatched the floodlight-equipped Bernalwood Action News Jeep to the scene on Sunday night to investigate.

The basic facts checked out instantly. Someone or something drove down the wrong side of Manchester. Along the way, he/she/it glanced off a Subaru Forester, damaging the rear quarter and peeling off much of the bumper. They then slammed into an Acura, doing extensive damage to the front end, before hitting a Saturn SUV and triggering a domino effect with three more adjacent cars.


Very, very unpleasant.

Oddly, the scene was eerily quiet when Bernalwood visited at about 10:30 last night. No neighbors. No police. Just lots of silence, broken cars, and shattered glass. Neighbor Sam was equally baffled:

While attempting to park this evening, I saw all this up at the top of Manchester: Cars hit by something and knocked around like playthings… Strangely there were no neighbors milling about (so maybe happened earlier??), but neither had there been a call to the police (I phoned it in on the non emergency line). A mystery… or Cloverfield 2?

Based on our preliminary observations, Bernalwood is going with the Cloverfield hypothesis. We will update this story as further information becomes available.

UPDATE 8:56 AM Neighbor Arwen writes in with the executive summary and useful reminder:

The Manchester drama actually happened on Friday night 🙂 Someone was apparently looking for parking, didn’t find a spot and started to back down but lost control. Eek! Fortunately the driver was not hurt and no one was in the cars, but as you can see, there was quite a lot of damage… The insurance assessors can’t come until Monday (today) so pretty much everyone left things as is.

While I’m writing you, I’ll make a PSA about curbing wheels. A similar accident happened a few years ago–someone pulled up on the other side of the street (no parking there), forgot to curb his wheels, and went inside a house. The emergency brake gave way and the car careened down the street, totalling 5 or 6 cars! So, always curb your wheels! And be careful backing down…

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

9 thoughts on “What the Hell Happened on Manchester Street?

  1. Hi, Just wanted to share in case it’s relevant to our neighbors that our mailbox has been broken into (this is the second time, with the first our AMEX being stolen and used at several Walgreens) and someone returned a manila envelope that was addressed to us, with a written note that they found it at St. Marys Park. The odd thing is that within the contents we have acquired 6 individuals credit cards, medical cards etc. It doesn’t all appear to be new. Is St. Mary’s Park a dumping ground? I have filed a police report online but will need to go into the police station to return the items.



  2. Wow, glad everybody is OK. Our friends parked up there last night and saw it, told us about it. They thought it had just happened.

    Separate issue. I’m of the opinion Bessie should be a one way, westward. Lots of navigating problems and recurring accidents would be solved that way.

    • Actually Manchester should probably be one way (uphill), which would have the side benefit of reducing traffic on Bessie. Every couple of years a car goes out of control on Manchester and it’s dangerous for people, houses, and cars.

      • That would be OK too. It would address most of the same problems. Three problems would remain. At peak parking capacity, Bessie would remain too narrow for two cars to pass one another. Bessie/Folsom would remain funky at times, with cars coming in off Folsom unable to access Bessie if another car is on Bessie. And folks would still double park selfishly, blocking Bessie, because they think their needs to access Harvest Hills Market quickly is more important than other drivers’ needs to get somewhere.

  3. “The emergency break”

    Perhaps I missed a BW witticism, but I believe you mean “brake.”

  4. I think the final count was 9 cars, plus the car that careened–possibly backward–down the hill on fog/mist/rain-slicked 26ish degree slope that is upper Manchester. (In trying to confirm the slope I stumbled across these sort of hilarious old articles and map: http://www.datapointed.net/2009/11/the-steeps-of-san-francisco/ ). Other neighbors reported the young woman was not hurt, not drunk, just embarrassed.

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