A jury acquitted a 26-year-old San Francisco woman who was charged with felony child endangerment when her 2-year-old niece was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver as the family crossed against a traffic light in August.
Mi’Yana Gregory, who was known as My-My, was the niece of Loyresha Gage and was in her aunt’s care when she was killed on Aug. 15, 2014.
The toddler was struck and killed at about 10:30 p.m. on a Friday night when the aunt led her niece across Mission Street between Fourth and Fifth streets against the pedestrian signal, police said.
Gage was talking on a cellphone when she crossed the street with her sister’s 2-year-old twins against a traffic light, according to both the defense and the prosecutors.
Gage walked with Mi’Yana to the middle of the street and left her there while she retrieved the toddler’s twin brother on the sidewalk, according to police.
According to the public defender’s office, Gage was less than halfway across Mission Street when she realized her nephew was still on the curb and panicked.
As she sprinted back to pick him up, a car struck Mi’Yana, according to the public defender’s office.
The car that struck Mi’Yana was traveling east on Mission Street on a green light, police said.
The car, which has not been located, was described as a white mid-1990s four-door sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry, Honda or Lexus, with a dark-colored mismatched front bumper and dark or black rims, police said.
The collision was caught on video surveillance and police are still seeking information about the hit-and-run driver.
Gage was arrested in the days following the collision and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office charged her with felony child endangerment resulting in death and misdemeanor child endangerment.
Assistant District Attorney Marianne Barrett said in the days following the collision that Gage’s behavior was reckless and contributed directly to the death of her niece.
Gage was visibly trembling and let out audible sobs during her arraignment back in 2014.
According to the public defender’s office, Gage sobbed again today as the verdict was read.
San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi said today that Gage has been acquitted of all charges after a San Francisco jury deliberated for a day and a half.
Gage faced up to 10 years in state prison if convicted, according to Gage’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kevin Mitchell.
Mitchell also said that the prosecutor’s decision to charge Gage was extremely painful for her family, who were struggling to cope with losing Mi’Yana.
But following Gage’s arraignment, Mi’Yana’s great-grandmother on her father’s side, Cynthia Johnson, said that she held Gage responsible and felt that her bail, set at $50,000, was too low.
Johnson said that Gage has to learn that actions have consequences and that she “must be punished.”
Irene Williams, Mi’Yana’s great-grandmother on her mother’s side, was also among the family members at Gage’s arraignment last year.
Williams, however, placed blame for her great-granddaughter’s death squarely on the driver who struck Mi’Yana, not on Gage.
Hannah Albarazi, Bay City News