Family Of Cyclist Killed In Folsom Collision “Devastated” That DA Won’t Charge At-Fault Driver

The San Francisco Bicycle Coalition responded today to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office decision to not file charges in the death last August of a 24-year-old bike commuter in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood.

Amelie Le Moullac, who lived in San Francisco and worked at the San Francisco office of the marketing firm Voce Communications, was killed during her morning commute on Aug. 14 when a truck made a right turn and struck her at Sixth and Folsom streets.

The driver was not initially cited, but was later found to be at fault after a San Francisco Bicycle Coalition member found surveillance video of the crash and turned it over to investigators.

In January, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office told Le Moullac’s family that they were unable to charge the driver, district attorney’s spokesman Alex Bastian said this morning.

“This incident is terribly tragic. Not being able to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt is also a tragedy. Due to this incident as well as others, we are asking for the resources necessary for a specialized unit so that we can provide these cases the attention and skill they rightfully deserve,” Bastian said.

Le Moullac’s family attorney Micha Liberty said this afternoon she met with a prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office in January who told her and Le Moullac’s mother about the decision to not file charges.

Le Moullac’s father, who lives in France, was also informed about the decision then, she said.

“They are devastated,” she said. Le Moullac also has two surviving siblings.

The SF Bicycle Coalition said in a statement released today that it was “deeply troubling” that charges were not filed in the case.

“Unfortunately, the lack of charges in this tragic case is par for the course in our justice system which continually fails to prosecute traffic cases as the crimes that they are,” the statement read.

The coalition went on to say that no charges were filed against the drivers in any of the four fatal bicycle crashes last year.

“Where is the justice for Amelie Le Moullac, Cheng Jin Lai, Diana Sullivan or Dylan Mitchell – all killed by operators of large vehicles on poorly designed, fast-moving San Francisco streets? Where is the justice for the 21 pedestrians killed last year on our streets?” the statement read.

The bicycle advocacy group called on city leaders to fund the District Attorney’s proposed Vehicular Manslaughter Unit, commit $15 million to street improvements on high-injury streets, and add more support for efforts to collect data about traffic accidents.

The group noted that the city’s Vision Zero goal to eliminate all traffic deaths by 2024 requires more support.

“These tragic crashes are not accidents. With thoughtful engineering of our streets, data-driven enforcement of the most dangerous behaviors, meaningful education and through investigation and prosecution, we can reduce and eventually eliminate all traffic fatalities,” according to the SF Bicycle Coalition.

After Le Moullac’s death, the San Francisco Police Department was criticized for how it handled the investigation and for the apparent derisive remarks aimed toward bicyclists that a police sergeant said at a memorial event a week after Le Moullac died.

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr apologized on behalf of the sergeant in the weeks after the fatal crash and said the incident would be reviewed by the city’s Office of Citizen Complaints, which handles reports of police misconduct.

In January, Suhr made another public apology at a City Hall hearing about how the case was handled.

Le Moullac’s family filed a wrongful death suit in San Francisco Superior Court last September against Milpitas-based Daylight Foods, the produce company using the truck, and the driver, Gilberto Alcantar, along with three other defendants, Liberty said.

The civil case is slated to go to trial in San Francisco Superior Court Dec. 1, she said.

She said the defendants have made the case difficult and are refusing to answer basic requests.

“Given the facts and what’s gone on, I don’t understand why they are not being more forthcoming,” Liberty said.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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  • saimin

    The main reason that prosecutor is dropping the case is that the police botched the investigation, right?

  • frenchjr25

    “Where is the justice for Amelie Le Moullac, Cheng Jin Lai, Diana
    Sullivan or Dylan Mitchell – all killed by operators of large vehicles
    on poorly designed, fast-moving San Francisco streets?”

    If The City streets are so dangerous then why are bicycles on them? There are some streets that are capable of handling both auto and bike traffic. But at what point do bike riders realize that there are some streets where their safety can’t ever be guaranteed.

    • adamspacemann

      Because when you’re on a bike, you have places to go and those places might not always fall inside the “some streets” you mention. What this tragedy and others point to is the fact that we can and should design all streets to guarantee safety for everyone.

      • frenchjr25

        That is true but we live in a city that was built for horse drawn carriages. Common sense says that pedestrians and bike riders need to be aware of their surroundings and keep themselves safe. Just because you can ride your bike down a street does not mean it’s safe for you to do so.

        • adamspacemann

          I agree with you that there is personal responsibility to look out for your own safety. I also think that there is a public responsibility to make streets safer for all users. The place where Le Moullac was killed, at 6th and Folsom, is an area with extremely wide streets (not narrow horse drawn carriage lanes) that have been designed to allow motorists to routinely travel far, far faster than the 25 mph posted speed limit (at least that’s the limit on 3rd, where I work, I don’t actually know the speed limit on 6th). It would be really easy to make a fully separated, curb or parking protected bike lane in this area. That is what I would like to see come out of this tragedy.

          • frenchjr25

            One thing that would help is for the construction of parking garages for residents. This would help get cars off the street and open spaces for bike lanes. The only issue really is parking for businesses.

          • jd_x

            No: you make parking easier, you encourage more driving. What we need to be doing instead is spending the money, effort, and resources to make the alternatives to driving much safer and much more convenient. Parking is already vastly subsidized and hence has contributed to creating artificially high demand for car usage:
            http://www.fastcoexist.com/3029157/visualized/how-we-think-about-parking-spaces-is-ruining-our-cities

    • http://uprightbiker.blogspot.com/ Upright Biker

      Yes @frenchjr25:disqus , those kinds of streets are called freeways, and they are restricted to use by motorized vehicles. The streets of our cities are “The Public Right-of-Way,” and belong to all of us, regardless of whether we are walking, driving or bicycling. Or riding a horse, for that matter.

      One mode of transport should not be allowed to infringe on the rights of all the public to use the right-of-way.

      • frenchjr25

        Historically you are wrong when it comes to San Francisco. Before motor vehicles ruled the roads we had trolley cars that were just as dangerous. In a city like San Francisco personal safety is an individual responsibility. If a street is not wide enough for a bike to ride down safely without threat of being hit by a motor vehicle then the bike rider should have the common sense not to ride down that street.

        We are talking about 150 year old streets. When it comes to traffic and streets the focus needs to be on the needs of the vast majority of citizens needs. Bike riders are a small minority of City residents. Streets that can be safely modified to allow for bike lanes should be. But most streets are incapable of being modified and so it’s up to bike riders to take care of their own safety.

        • http://uprightbiker.blogspot.com/ Upright Biker

          Really? Then explain this little bit of evidence to the contrary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pfZX-4iQOgQ
          and tell me which vehicle you see that is most dangerous in the entire film.

          • frenchjr25

            Using a video from 1906 to make your point is ridiculous. There were no traffic laws and cars in the US were relatively new. Check out footage from the 1930s and see just how packed with street cars Market Street once was.

            Just because politicians are currently kissing the rears of bike riders does not mean that bike riders are correct in their assertions.

            I’ve been hit by bikes while legally crossing Market and other streets.

            And there are laws that riders have to follow but few know what they are (including a minimum speed and how to legally cross a street).

          • http://uprightbiker.blogspot.com/ Upright Biker

            Dude, you’re the one who tried to make historical inaccuracy the point, and I proved you wrong.

            So now you’re trying to change the subject and hurl insults, so you cannot be taken seriously anymore.

          • frenchjr25

            Here is a video that shows Market Street transit through the ages. And no, no insults were hurled.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0IKAIFBrt3M

          • http://uprightbiker.blogspot.com/ Upright Biker

            I think you’ve proven the point perfectly. What used to be a space that everyone could use has been overtaken by automobiles, despite the fact that they represent a minority portion (37%) of the overall mode share.

            http://archives.sfmta.com/cms/rbikes/documents/SFMTA-ModeShareSurvey_FinalJULY.pdf

    • 94103er

      Twenty-one pedestrians killed by cars in SF last year. If The City [sic] streets are so dangerous then why are pedestrians on them?

      Well north of 30,000 drivers or passengers killed in cars in the US last year. If all streets and highways are dangerous then why are cars on them?

      See how stupid your question is, now?

  • Jessie Jewitt

    Please help me to carry forth my daughter Amelie’s love to the beautiful children of Haiti by donating to her fund:
    http://amelielemoullac.com/amelies-angels/donating-amelies-angels/

    Thank you,
    Her mother Jessie