A tale of two prosecutors: Bob Lee and George Gascon

When Navindra Kumar Jain lost control of his Tesla last November and accidentally killed cyclist Josh Alper on California Highway 1 last November, the Santa Cruz County prosecutor’s office wasted no time in investigating the crash independent of the police investigation.

Josh Alper ghost bike Hwy 1 California

By February, Jain was arraigned and charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. Earlier today, Jain entered a plea of no contest, according to the the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Prosecutor Greg Peinado said his office will ask for the one year maximum penalty at the sentencing hearing in July.

The misdemeanor charge and potential penalty may not appear much for taking a life, but compare against another careless driving case that resulted in death for a cyclist, this time in San Francisco. Although the SFPD initially fumbled the investigation, they eventually concluded that the truck driver swerved his vehicle into the cyclist, Amelie Le Moullac.

The police presented their evidence to the office of San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon, who had famously announced he wanted to “send a message” to careless vehicle operators and hold cyclists “to the same standard as anybody else operating any other type of vehicle” when he aggressively prosecuted the only two cyclists in San Francisco history known to kill pedestrians due to their dangerously careless riding.

Cyclists throughout the San Francisco Bay Area were outraged by the news earlier this week that San Francisco attorney Gascon would not prosecute the truck driver allegedly responsible for the death of Amelie Le Moullac. “We are unable to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” said a spokesman for San Francisco’s attorney’s office.

A change.org petition is now online asking Gascon’s office to file charges against the driver who turned his truck into Le Moullac.

Gascon comes up for re-election in 2015.

5 Comments

  • May 16, 2014 - 7:17 pm | Permalink

    Video, not enough….

  • May 18, 2014 - 5:59 pm | Permalink

    Santa Cruz, could we trade prosecutors? Video proof of the crime isn’t enough? WTF Gascon!?

  • Daten
    May 19, 2014 - 11:50 am | Permalink

    SFPD went to the ends of the earth to find evidence of a cyclist hitting a pedestrian to make a case but when the shoe is on the other foot it’s “oh too bad so sad for you”. Outrageous. Absolutely outrageous.

  • The Odd Duck
    May 19, 2014 - 10:15 pm | Permalink

    One of the problems with the Channel Seven hit piece its shows a short grainy segment of SFCAM 3 at a odd angle. If you look long enough times you can see the bike tire just in front of the truck. With out more footage or eyewitness account its pretty much speculation in what happen. In a You tube, a rider from the Netherlands noted how the American on there Tour de France seems to race wherever they go. Could Amelie Le Moullac have been trying to pass a slower moving bobtail, after all what a wonderful story it would have made over coffee. In Stanly Roberts people behaving badly there is one segment where thirteen bicycle were ticked for running stops signs among many other segments. What you need to do before condemning the drive of the bobtail is to ride shotgun on one of them. You will soon find out they are a awkward vehicle to drive especially when you have traffic now passing both on the right and the left.

    Here is something that I learned in my twenty year of riding a motorcycle.
    1. Everybody and everything is out the kill you.
    2. Never assumed to have the right a way even if you do.
    3. If you want to lock horns with 3000 pounds you will loose.
    4. Defensive driving, defensive driving, defensive driving. It do not matter rather you are on a bicycle, automobile, motorcycle, or just walking these rules apply to each and all of us. If you want to be dare to be stupid, have a short and exciding life.

  • Mike O.
    July 21, 2014 - 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Hi Richard,

    Thank you for your past posts and media comments about Josh Alper’s death. The sentencing hearing took place on Friday, and the sentence includes jail time:

    http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_26175976/bonny-doon-man-sentenced-jail-fatal-santa-cruz

    A landmark outcome for cyclists?

    Thank you again.

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