Memorial concert follows DA's decision not to charge driver who killed cyclist

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Amelie Le Moullac, shown with her cat Diesel, is being celebrated at a concert, but the driver who killed her won't face charges
http://amelielemoullac.com

In the wake of yesterday’s decision by the District Attorney’s Office not to bring criminal charges against the driver who killed 24-year-old Amélie Le Moullac as she cycled in the Folsom Street bike lanes on her way to work last August, her family will be holding a benefit concert this Friday (May 16) for Amélie’s Angels, a charity created in her name to benefit needy schoolchildren in Haiti.

The concert by Amelie’s mother, organist Jessie Jewitt, and other Bay Area musicians starts at 7:30pm in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Palo Alto, featuring the Palo Alto Philharmonic and Conducter Geoffrey Pope. Amélie’s friend and co-worker Steve Lynch, who told us the event will be both a memorial and a fundraiser, said he was disappointed by the DA’s office decision not to bring charges in the case.

“I personally find this to be very upsetting, particularly given the way her investigation was handled, but the main reason I wanted to write you was to see if you would be interested in mentioning the benefit concert. It's something that we're trying to do to get her family some closure,” Lynch told us.

As KQED reported yesterday, the DA’s Office decided there was insufficicient evidence to bring an involuntary manslaughter charge against delivery truck driver Gilberto Alcantar, who turned right at Sixth Street across Le Moullac’s path, killing her. The San Francisco Police Department had recommended criminal charges after initially conducting only a cursory investigation, an insult that was compounded by Sgt. Richard Ernst showing up and making insensitive, victim-blaming comments at a memorial event by cyclists at the scene of Le Moullac’s death. Afterward, bike activists asked nearby businesses if they has surveillance video of the accident, finding video that police had neglected to seek that led investigators to conclude that Alcantar didn’t have the right-of-way when he ran over Le Moullac.

The Board of Supervisors held hearings on how the SFPD conducts such investigations, and Police Chief Greg Suhr later apologized for Ernst’s comments and the faulty investigation and pledged to conduct more thorough investigations when motorists kill cyclists, including looking at the three other similar fatalities last year. Alcantar was never even given a traffic citation in the deadly accident, but Le Moullac’s family has filed a civil wrongful death lawsuit against Alcantar and the company he was driving for at the time, Daylight Foods.

Since the accident, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency has created new bike lanes and other markings on Folsom Street to more clearly delineate how bikes and cars should merge as they approach intersections so as to avoid the illegal “right hook” turns that are so dangerous to cyclists.

In a public statement announcing Amélie’s Angels and the benefit concert, Jewitt said, “Many people have asked me whether I was going to set up some type of fund or activity to improve the safety of SF streets for bicyclists. Although great improvements need to be made in this area, I leave it to advocates such as the Bicycle Coalition and other concerned individuals to petition for these changes. Amélie was not a cyclist. She was simply a young woman who thought that cycling to work would help the environment and would be a good form of exercise. In the days following her death, I felt her love so intensely, I knew I had to channel it into some activity that would directly enhance the lives of others.”

Comments

Grow up, Richmondman

Posted by Richmondboy on May. 17, 2014 @ 9:12 pm

You can bet your booty if a cyclist had killed a pedestrian charges would be filed. It is open season on us out there guys, be prepared to defend yourselves.

The DA has given every road raging jerk in an SUV carte blanche to run over any cyclist they like. As long as they kill us, no charges will be filed.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 13, 2014 @ 5:33 pm

@GlenParkDaddy - Indeed there have been two cyclists who've killed pedestrians, one in 2011 and one in 2012, the first was prosecuted with a misdemeanor and the second with a felony. These are the only cases I know of since 1988. A car kills somebody every 3 weeks in this city and prosecution is very rare.

Posted by Jym on May. 13, 2014 @ 6:11 pm

bike than by a car, so it is reasonable to assume that a cyclist who achieves that has done something very very bad and wrong

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:32 am

It is "bad and wrong" to be in a car instead of on a bike, all things being equal...

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 12:52 pm
Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

Hopefully the family will sue the City for maintaining a dangerous road condition that contributed to a wrongful death and sue the driver who killed her and his employer to boot.

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

I do not see that the city did anything wrong here.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:33 am

Bike lane + bus lane + truck route + bulb out + 3 blocks from I-280 = dangerous condition.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:48 am

that basis. You need to show that the city did something specifically wrong here.

And not just that if you had been designing the intersection, you'd have done it differently.

Apparently this chick was new to the city and probably did not show appropriate awareness on unfamiliar streets

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 6:16 am

The police report states that the bulb out contributed to the dangerous condition. The burden of proof in a civil lawsuit is a preponderance of the evidence rather than unreasonable doubt. The City is probably on the hook for seven figures here, similar to what Oakland had to pay to Scott Olsen. Penny wise and pound foolish with the balance taken out of the flesh and blood of average folks.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 6:39 am

with Olsen, city workers were the proximate cause of Olsen's alleged injuries.

In this case, you are trying to argue that the city caused the accident not by action or neglect, but simply because they designed the intersection a certain way.

And ironically, it is the bike lobby who are often asking for bulb-outs.

This juror would find no case against the city, and would let the driver's insurance work out any compensation due, based on the percentage blame between the driver and the cyclist.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 6:57 am

And in this case, choices made by City workers led to the dangerous conditions that led to her death. The City is responsible for not maintaining dangerous conditions. Just like they force property owners to repair dangerous sidewalks, they must maintain their facilities for safety and are responsible when they engineer their facilities to perform unsafely. In both cases, the needs for the City to "get things done" is borne by others and when that happens, the City is legally responsible for the consequences of its conduct.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 7:29 am

failures to act by individuals or entities.

There is a civil lawsuit and, AFAIK, the city is not named in it, for the reasons I cited.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 8:42 am

and do not serve well the non-motorized citizens they are ostensibly meant to serve--just like so many other capricious anti-car maneuvers--but I have difficulty in seeing how a bulb-out can be seen as exculpatory in this accident and am not particularly likely to believe what the police have to say here.

(I'd like to read that report, so perhaps someone will post a link?)

Just to hazard a guess, I suppose the claim might be made that Amelie, as a slower-moving user of the roadway, and in following California law of keeping to the rightmost position in the lane available to her in such circumstances, was traveling in the unused parking area until she came to the bulb out, making her harder for the truck driver to see in the moments before the two vehicles reached the intersection.

Is that it? Because it seems to me that an illegal lane change is an illegal lane change no matter the visibility conditions.

Anyhow, I found a page on "insurance news" saying that the family was suing the trucking company, but no mention of the City being named.

More info?

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 14, 2014 @ 7:33 am

There are bike lanes on Folsom at 6th and the bulb out makes is so that bikes have to be more into the lane than we otherwise would be and it changes the geometry of the turn that the motorists have to make. These combine to create a dangerous condition for which the City is probably liable.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 7:49 am

intersection anyway. That is clearly marked on the street and amelie should have known that.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 8:42 am

And motorists are required to signal 100' in advance to merge into the bike lane BEFORE the intersection. Merging means respecting traffic already in the lane, not running it down because you are larger.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 9:37 am

indicating that it would make a turn.

My guess as to what happened here is that the truck, being a wide vehicle, could not merge into the bike lane as normal, because of its wide turning radius. Rather it may have had to move to the left to make the turn

An experienced cyclist would have seen that coming, but an inexperienced cyclist like Amelie who was new to the city would have missed that. and she ploughed ahead at full speed without thinking that a turn may be made.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 10:19 am

Since right-turning vehicle drivers legally must make their turns from the right-most lane (i.e. merged with bike lane) and transit *to* the right-most lane--though in this particular case since it was being made from a one-way street that latter part might not apply--bulb outs make legal turns difficult or impossible for larger vehicles.

Just another reason to know that bulb-outs are completely stupid.

Also, I see how the bulb-out might have foreclosed the possibility for Amelie to bail to the right at the last moment in order to avoid the trucker's illegal maneuver.

Bulb-outs are stupid and bogus traffic circles are stupid on PCP.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 14, 2014 @ 10:36 am

There are places where bulb outs might make sense and places where they don't make sense. One place where they don't make sense is at an intersection with a heavy volume of trucks, a bike lane and a transit line.

Posted by marcos on May. 14, 2014 @ 10:54 am

The main reason is shadenfreud. "Traffic calming" is non-Internet troll-talk.

Posted by lillipublicans on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:27 am

space to cross safely.

But they also require the bike lane to end some distance short of the intersection, and so a cyclists has a duty to ensure it is safe to merge left. If it is not safe, they must stop and wait, but many cyclists do not and take risks to maintain speed.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:39 am

So while they may make one manoever more dangerous, they make another one more safe.

With a different design, Amelie might still be around but someone else might be dead.

Design decisions are trade-offs.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:38 am

before making a turn. If anything, it needs to swing out to the left to make the turn, which might fool an inexperienced cyclist like Amelie.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:28 am

@lillipublicans - The scenario you concoct makes no sense. Google Maps Street View shows that the bulbout is no impediment, nor is riding in the parking lane a credible hypothesis:

http://goo.gl/maps/tJujo

It is the truck-driver's responsibility to see where the truck is driving, not matter how "hard" it is. At any rate it was a small truck without the extensive blind spots that some have surmised:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/5/prweb10715519.htm

Posted by Jym on May. 14, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

to make the turn. The video doesn't show that either because, from the angle of the video, she cannot be seen until later.

The evidence points equally to Amelie being at fault, which is why that was the initial SFPD assessment. Evidently the DA has decided that the video does not say otherwise.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 6:53 pm
Posted by lillipublicans on May. 14, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

Yes! Lawsuits are the answer!

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 9:17 am

But if you carry insurance, there is little reason to fear them.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 9:22 am

Vision Zero Accountability for Motorists.

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 5:44 pm

There will be an insurance claim

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:34 am

But the full wrath of the state should be brought against working class people of color who get into accidents that result in the death of privileged white cyclists.

Steven - how many plantations did your family own back in the day - huh 'massa?

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 6:19 pm

Prison for killers instead of execution or prosecutorial abdication.

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 6:34 pm

If you have evidence showing that go to the DA.

Otherwise Marcos - shut the fuck up.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

Vehicular manslaughter. The motorist broke the law by failing to operate his vehicle without colliding with another and that failure to abide by the law resulted in death.

California Penal Code section 192(c) defines vehicular manslaughter as driving a vehicle with ordinary negligence that results in the unlawful killing of a human being. The sentencing and punishment for vehicular manslaughter or homicide in California can be severe. In order to convict you of vehicular homicide, the prosecution must prove the following:

1. While driving a vehicle, you committed a misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act in an unlawful manner AND

2. The misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act was dangerous to human life under the circumstances of its commission AND

3. You committed the misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act with ordinary negligence AND

4. The misdemeanor, infraction or otherwise lawful act caused the death of another person

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 7:04 pm

When are you going to shut the fuck up?

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

When you quit responding to me and validating that what I say is a threat to you.

Posted by marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 7:42 pm

to your useless city commission post Marcos?

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 8:52 pm

Nobody is willing to give him any power or decision-making responsibility.

He's a failed footnote.

Posted by Guest on May. 15, 2014 @ 6:34 am

Let's see, I contributed money to all of the winners' leading opponents and the winner kept me on as a courtesy until the end of my term. I can't complain at all.

Posted by marcos on May. 15, 2014 @ 7:08 am

Sentence first - verdict afterwards!

Posted by Marcos on May. 13, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

So if it was a white person driving the truck, you would be in favor of prosecution?

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 13, 2014 @ 7:50 pm

for centuries of exploitation and enslavement. We need a system where historical injustice is remedied with present-day justice. We need to break the back of the white machine in this country.

Posted by Guest on May. 13, 2014 @ 8:20 pm

colored person of color. This is nothing more than a quid pro quo for centuries of oppression.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 5:35 am

of Haitian or West African descent - or maybe an Arab from Algeria. After all France exploited its people of color colonies for centuries. Still, there's a certain justice here, being that Latinos are so oppressed in Amerikkka. I mean - she no doubt benefited from exploitation and racism somewhere along the line.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 10:10 am

@Guest - Mr. Alcantar's name was kept out of the Bay Area media until very recently (only the _Modesto_Bee_ published it back in August). Nearly all discourse about this tragedy has taken place with no regard for his surname; we are still not even aware whether he was a person of color.

Other bicyclists killed last year included another pretty white woman, an Asian man, and a man of undetermined ethnicity or race. The ethnicity or race of the drivers (two truck drivers, one Muni driver) were not publicized.

Posted by Jym on May. 17, 2014 @ 9:46 pm

At least in Sf, it makes a huge difference, even if it should not.

Posted by Guest on May. 18, 2014 @ 5:49 am

Thanks for the laugh.

Posted by Richmondman on May. 14, 2014 @ 11:48 am

they take the anti-white side, mindlessly.

Posted by Guest on May. 14, 2014 @ 12:06 pm

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