Wrongful death lawsuit filed in cyclist death

Family members of Amelie Le Moulla
September 3, 2013 10:16:20 PM PDT
The family of a young woman killed riding her bike in San Francisco last month filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against a South Bay food distributor and their truck driver. The family's lawyer is also criticizing how police handled the case, especially Chief Greg Suhr.

The family's attorney told I-Team reporter Dan Noyes that it's important to get the civil case going before any charges are filed to allow her to gather evidence, and because documents get lost, memories fade, and this has been such a tremendous loss to the family.

Jessie Jewitt shared her 24-year-old daughter Am?lie Le Moullac with the I-Team Tuesday -- a picture from when she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from USC, the last note Am?lie left for her mom, and her birthday picture taken just three days before she died.

Her mother found out what happened from a call from San Francisco General. Jewitt says, "And I answered and they said, 'Your daughter has been in a terrible accident. She's in critical condition and she's in surgery.'"

Jewitt rushed to the hospital, but her daughter was gone. She told Noyes, "And at that point, she was still warm and I could touch her hand, and they said she had severe head trauma, and she had blood coming out of her ears which I took and I put as a sign of the cross on my hands to remember her forever."

The family filed a wrongful death lawsuit Tuesday against Daylight Foods from Milpitas and their driver, 45 year-old Gilberto Alcantar.

Attorney Micha Liberty says Alcantar made several mistakes the morning of August 14, starting with driving too fast to make a safe right turn during rush hour on Folsom Street. Liberty adds, "He also failed to get into the bike lane, which is the proper procedure when there's a bike lane and you're making a right turn."

Liberty says the initial police report blamed Am?lie for the crash, but when a bicycle advocate tracked down a surveillance video from a local business that shows what happened, police changed the report to say the driver was at fault.

During a photo op for a new bike sharing service last week, Chief Greg Suhr announced his staff was forwarding the case to prosecutors that very day. Suhr said, "That's being presented to the district attorney's office today. That's the standard procedure for them to make a charging decision, if any."

But, it didn't happen, and five days later, the case still has not gone to the district attorney. Micha Liberty says, "It appears that the inspector's report has not been concluded. Tthe case has not been sent to the district attorney's office to the best of our knowledge."

The district attorney's office confirms in an email to the I-Team, "The case has not been formally presented... Our office has had brief discussions with the SFPD regarding the status of the case. The SFPD is currently determining how to proceed next."

While the criminal and civil cases play out, Am?lie's family is dealing with their loss -- scattering some of her ashes under the Golden Gate Bridge.

Jessie Jewitt says, "In pouring her ashes over, it was... I've been divorced 10 years, but when two parents, whether you're divorced or married or what, when you lose a child, it brings you together in love for that child."

Noyes made several calls and sent emails, but there was no comment from Chief Suhr, the food company, or the driver on Tuesday. The family's attorney is asking for anyone who saw what happened to contact her office.


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