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