Aunt Remembers Derek Allen, Bicyclist Killed in Crash with Muni Bus

Photo courtesy of Derek Allen's family
Photos courtesy of Derek Allen's family

It will probably be some time before we find out exactly what caused last week’s crash in the Inner Richmond that killed 22-year-old Derek Allen. From accounts posted by friends on Streetsblog, Derek was staying with some friends in the Richmond and was on his way to get dim sum on his bicycle when he was fatally struck by a Muni bus on 6th Avenue.

A spokesperson for the San Francisco Police Department said today that the collision report is still being completed, and it may take weeks or even months to finish the investigation. Even then, those types of reports are not available to the public, although the results of the investigation will be shared with the family and the bus driver involved in the collision.

I’ve been in touch with Derek’s family in Pleasanton. They have been too overwhelmed with grief to do an interview but his aunt, Stephanie Allen, saw a photo of the ghost bike that has been placed at 6th Avenue and Clement Street in Derek’s memory, and wanted everyone to know a little about Derek. She wrote the following, attached some photos and planned to place it on the ghost bike:

This ghost is my nephew, Derek Allen. For many of you who pass this corner, he is an everyman, a victim of a tragic accident, a young person who left this world way too soon.

For my family, this is a tragedy beyond belief. It’s a surreal nightmare that we wish we could have ended on Friday morning when we woke up to our first day of living with the fact that Derek was gone.

What can I tell you about Derek?

I can only speak from what I know as his aunt. Derek grew up in Pleasanton, the only child of my brother and his wife. He had birthday parties with large packs of kids and bad Safeway cakes over embellished with colorful icing. He had to wear a Christmas sweater and have his photo taken for the holidays. He loved to skateboard, play video games, spend time with his dog Lucky and do artwork. In these last few years, he carried a sketchbook. At Christmas, since he was broke, he made us hand drawn cards with the deep thoughts that only a 22-year-old can have.

Derek-1

Mine read: “Hoping for all they desire, the children laugh and play in the Christmas mire.”

Christmas will never be the same for our family without you Derek.

Derek and I shared some special time on outdoor adventures when he was younger. I asked him to hike a moderate hill carrying a water bottle and small pack while I carried the tent and most other supplies. He moaned and groaned about how painful this was, but he loved it when we reached our destination with stars overhead and a good meal.

I want to remember Derek watching a black and white movie in the park, going to the Philippines with my sister and singing karaoke “Stairway to Heaven,” scraping together all his coins to buy my mom a Macy’s necklace for Christmas, coming to the holidays with his dad and eating voraciously, growing a beard, working at Applebee’s and getting fired for cursing under his breath, going to Tahoe to be with friends, having a girlfriend who loved Betsy Johnson, being a great companion to my nephew two years his junior, wearing aviator sunglasses at his graduation from Pleasanton High School and as a loving member of our family.

Derek, we’ll try to go on and when we think of you, I hope our fond memories can overshadow this senseless accident and early departure.

We love you.

A “Celebration of Life” service to honor Derek Allen will be held this Saturday, October 16th at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, 3350 Hopyard Road, “where Derek was baptized, received confirmation, and spent many happy occasions while growing up in Pleasanton. The service will begin at 11:30am and end at 12:30pm. There will be a potluck reception immediately following the service at St. Augustine’s Catholic Church (Fellowship Hall) in Pleasanton from 1:00 to 3:00pm.

Donations would be gratefully appreciated by the family. In addition, honorariums in Derek’s name to the Youth in Yosemite charity, or the Visual Arts Program at Amador High School where Derek was very active in the Visual Arts Program, would be appreciated.”

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  • Sprague

    Thank you for sharing these photos and memories. My condolences to Derek’s family and friends for their great loss.

  • In honor of Derek’s of Life and to pay tribute to his passion for the Visual Arts, this Memorial Fund in his name will help fund the Ceramics Program at Amador Valley High School. Derek spent his high school years in this program that meant so very much to him and helped mold his amazing natural artistic talents. A vibrant, meaningful contribution will be made and inspiring stories about Derek with be shared among the teachers and students for many years to come. If you’d like to share in honoring Derek’s memory and Support the Arts as Derek did please feel free to donate below to Amador Valley High School Ceramics.

    http://derekaallenmemorialfund.blogspot.com/

  • These memories are difficult to read, the photos hard to see. We are all diminished by this loss. And we grieve for the devastating impact for Derek’s family and friends. Our thanks, Bryan, for this account and to Derek’s aunt for allowing us to know Derek.Our thoughts are with you.

  • Thierry

    To Derek Mom, Dad,Step Dad, all the Allen Family
    I am a 50 yrs old man, A cyclist for over 7 yrs.
    I did not know your son, But I am hurting in my heart.
    I went riding the same route your son did many time before.
    Your son could have been, a son I could have had.
    And so my tears are flowing down.
    As a Cyclist,being careful everyday, I will even try harder now.
    I wanted to assist the viewing on Tuesday, but could not get a ride from San Francisco to the Funeral parlor. I wanted it so very much,I wanted to see his face,and pray.
    If you don’t mind I would like to attend the funeral.
    May our Lord keep you strong. your tears are shared with many of us.
    Sincerely.
    Thierry.

  • Your thoughtfulness, love and concern is deeply appreciated. We hope to see you there.

    The Celebration of Life Service from at 11:30am-12:30pm Saturday Oct. 16th
    2010 at St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, 3350 Hopyard Road, Pleasanton, CA 94588
    925-462-4802

  • AS

    Thank you for sharing your memories of Derek. He was my fiance’s best friend since 3rd grade, and was more like a brother to him. I know he always considered Derek to be family, and I always thought of them as brothers. We all went to highschool together, and he’s a part of so many of my memories from the last 10 years. When we moved to Davis he visited us more than any other friends or family, even though he didn’t have a car and it wasn’t easy to get there.
    He was always funny, always kind, and I’ve never met anyone who was so genuinely friendly and interested in people. The time I laughed the hardest in my life was with Derek.
    I remember when we convinced Derek to let us cut his long hair, but he wouldn’t let us touch ‘the beard’. Watching the funny and weird youtube videos he’d find, kickin it at the rock or the spot, the three of us arguing philosophy.
    The last time we saw him he helped us move into our new apartment, and it was a 100 degrees, and we lived upstairs in both apartments, but he was happy to do it to spend time with his best friend. I remember countless car trips, picking him up in Walnut Creek on the way back to Pleasanton, him with his skateboard and backpack jammed in the back of my tiny car next to our laundry baskets, listening to his mixed CDs.
    Most of my memories are of watching Derek be a best friend to someone I love, and I loved him for that. My heart goes out to all the people who lost such an awesome friend and loved one.

  • lisa marie

    my heart goes out to the friends and family. it seems as though derek was a beautiful human being. i’m so sorry for your loss.

  • friend

    One of my best buds from highschool,

    he was just a plain awesome guy to hang out with. He was smart, friendly, genuine and above all a pleasure to be around.

  • Family

    Celebration of the life of
    Derek A. Allen
    Saturday, October 16, 2010, 11:30 am

    Music Before the Service
    Slide Presentation
    Music Amazing Grace Piper

    Entrance: I am Resurrection BCP. 491
    Cantor: Elaine Snyder

    Priest: The Lord be with you
    People: And also with you
    Priest: Let us pray

    Collect for Celebration of Life BCP 493

    A Native American Reading Gail Cropley

    Psalm 46 BCP 649 Jeanne D.

    Gospel Reading John 14:1-5

    Jesus said: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.

    Memories of Derek Karen Haley Allen
    Bob Hardy

    Music The Awakening Jason Gluck

    Celebrations from the congregation

    Reading Psalm 121 Jay Blank

    Reading: Final Analysis(Mother Teresa) Lola Bullock

    Prayers for Derek BCP p. 497 Derek’s Friend

    “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Elaine Snyder

    Commendation BCP p. 499

    Blessing
    Dismissal
    Recessional: Amazing Grace Piper

    Derek’s Family welcomes everyone to this celebration of Derek’s life, Our service today uses the traditional Episcopal Liturgy and incorporates other traditions as well, reflecting Derek’s inclusive life-style.

    Saint Clare’s Episcopal Church
    3350 Hopyard
    Pleasanton, CA

    Family and friends can make contributions in Derek’s memory at:
    http://derekaallenmemorialfund.blogspot.com/

  • Budi

    I never met Derek nor did I know him but my heart and prayer go to his family, friends, and loved ones. May God give you His strength and comfort to go through this difficult time.

    On that fateful Thursday, Oct 7, 2010, I was standing at the corner of 6th Ave and Clement St. and saw it happening. My whole body just numbed and was troubled all night long. That scene is still vivid in my mind today. I wish it had never happened.

  • mook

    one of my best times of my life was when derek and i were playing football on the chiefs it was by far my favorite team i had been on. derek and i were already friends as we went to the same elementary and middle school i remember his mom always helped run the haunted house at walnut grove. but that team was a lot of fun and a lot of that fun was because of derek being on it. it has been a while since the last time the 2 of us talked but he was someone i was always glad to see and say hi to…..RIP Derek u will be missed and remembered

  • DEREK’S ALLEY

    I’m Derek’s Uncle, married to Derek’s aunt pictured with him, my son is the boy pictured skateboarding with Derek when they were younger. My son always thought of Derek as an older brother and he acted it, always watching over my son. I thought of him as my second son. I’ve never cried as much as I did when I heard the news about Derek.

    I’m a motorcyclist and this year, one of our riders died while going through a curve too fast. Until he died, we never realized how dangerous that particular curve was. In his honor, we named it “Ricky’s Bend” after the rider. All riders now slow down as they approach this curve, and I’m sure this has saved many lives since. To make sense out of an otherwise senseless tragedy, I’d like us to name this stretch of street “DEREK’S ALLEY”. This way, Derek will have saved future lives of cyclists and pedestrians who will exercise more care as they pass Derek’s Alley. I also ask Muni bus drivers to honor my nephew by exercising more care as they drive this street. That Derek would be guardian of this street is befitting the generous and larger than life spirit that those who know Derek will remember of him. To bikers out there, Derek’s father Mike is a biker and I ask you to extend your cameraderie to cyclists, Derek could have been your son, too. Perhaps it was up to Derek to bring us all together. He was that kind of guy.

  • my condolences and prayers are with his family and loved ones.
    thanks so much for sharing this beautiful post — may Derek’s spirit live on though all of us on the bike lanes and pedestrians in SF.

  • dawn

    I lived on black ave. Right across the street from derek. We went to highschool together. I remember what a loving funny guy he was. I remember when derek didn’t have lucky on a leash and he got swiped by a car. Lucky was fine but derek layed in the street holding lucky crying. I just thought of that story while I was driving yesterday and that night I got news that he had passed. I remembered how he liked the doors. How we loved his mom and it embarassed him lol. I also remember that while I was on vacation I told him and my friends they could hang in my house not knowing that my alarm was set. Hahaha. And when him and dom and kylie would play pranks. I was hoping yesterday tha maybe I would see him and we could catch up. I am sad that will never happen. I am so sorry to his family and I can’t imagine losing my own son. Its something that would be the hardest thing to face every day. I have lost a lot of friends and my mother. Im so sorry. My prayers are with you. Love dawn nyswonger.

  • Kieli

    To Derek’s Uncle.
    I never met your nephew. and I do feel pain in my heart.
    I am a 5o yro Cyclist and rode on,now DEREK’S ALLEY so many times during the years as resident of the Richmond district.
    As I mentioned before,being 50 and Derek 22, yes I could have had a son of his age. In my circle of friends,I am the only cyclist and yesterday I had an argument with one the friend for he thinks”US BIKERS” are careless on the streets.I am so carefull when I ride and found many car drivers who ARE CARELESS or just DO NOT LIKE US AT ALL. Last week alone I almost got hit by a van who signaled to go right but went straight ahead toward me and the driver cursed at me. Today I am more nervous than ever as my bike is my daily transportation. The MADONA {Virgin Mary} is the St Patron of the Bikers…Check in the net.I will add her on my bike.
    As for tomorrow,I will attend the service if you do not mind.Just for respect.I’ll carry my helmet in my arm.
    Your tears are shared belive me. The night of the tragedy,I did cried myself to sleep. My Nephew Stephane is coming to visit me Monday from France…He and Derek are the same age.
    May our Lord keep you safe and give you strenght.
    Derek will be watching us now on the road.
    Sincerely….Kieli

  • Jon Ramos

    Hi Derek,
    Its your Aunt, Jonie, Addie’s sister, I have been so shaken by the news of your early departure. I don’t have a car and cross the streets of S.F. everyday. I cried so hard the day you passed. I remembered a young vibrant man looking out for AJ, my nephew. I cannot forget your face and your countenance, there are many people I meet but your face I will never forget, you have inspired me more than words can ever tell. I love you Derek,for who you are, and the legacy you have left us, you have made me more cautious, more deciphering in my choices in life. I wish for you all the joy you have brought to your family and so much more. I don’t know if you remember me, but I remember YOU, I have two children, Sam, and Hannah, I pray you will always watch over them, in your stairway to heaven, We love you Derek, and I am happy to have met you even briefly, but for a lifetime I will always treasure, Your Aunt,
    Joni,
    We love you, stay peaceful in your slumber

  • Stacey Wenzel

    Derek and His Family,

    I grew up with Derek. I have not seen him since our friend Satoshi’s memorial service about a year and a half ago, but I remember him well. We had been in classes together since probably first grade and throughout high school. He was always inventive and creative, funny and full of joy. And his laughter was infectious.

    I am in school in LA and heard about the accident from friends back home who could attend his service.

    It’s not enough, but I am so sorry for this senseless loss. The good memories of him will keep his spirit living among us. May he rest in peace and continue to keep us smiling and laughing with warm thoughts.

    My sincere condolences and prayers go out to you all.

  • Kieli

    TO BUDI,
    Hope YOU GET THIS,
    I am a every day Cyclist,for over 7 yrs.I was sadened by the death of Derek Allen. I did attend at the Church.
    Some of My friends are arguing with me…they say it a bus.But I know there were two buses involved…one was stop for some reasons and another one came behind it, went into the left line to pass that bus and that is when The young man cross.
    I do not know of course…I am not a police officer ect.
    As a biker and my friends are not,I’m tired of this argument with them. If a biker gets hit by a bus going in slow speed…then the biker would be throw out of the bike and onto the street!!
    If a biker gets by a bus going faster than normal speed, the bus driver would have lesser time to use the break and therefore a person geting hit by that bus will end down under the bus a its midlle section…It make sense…just Logic.

  • K

    Derek was my first love.
    I could tell you a million memories, but one always sticks out in my head.
    One of our first dates was at the Alameda County Fair. We bought some Hawaiian ice and went on my favorite ride that spins you until your stomach flips over and over. After getting off, Derek threw up all over me!
    Then, I just held his hand and we sat on the giant ferris wheel all covered in blue. Usually that would be the end for most girls, but he was wonderful.

    I don’t think I will ever get over losing one of my best friends and greatest love to a city bus! Really?
    I live in SF and will no longer ride Muni.

    Miss you Dere.

  • Linda Marston

    Our loss of Derek is profound. The impacts of his brief but generous and joyous life, and his sudden death, are far reaching — extending to family, friends and loved ones, the cycling community, city residents, and maybe even policymakers. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories of Derek, and the effect he has had on your life. May we all be better and kinder to each other, in memory of him.
    From his Godmother and cousin, Linda

  • deb

    I never met Derek ,
    but I am good friends with his Mom Karen I cried when I heard and I cried when I read these posts , I am so sorry for this tragic loss,
    So hard to understand.What a Beautiful boy, my heart is broken for the family,
    It seems he left many good friends and fond memories behind. He brought much joy to his friends and family.though it is so hard to make sense of this. I guess that I look at it like God gives us people in our lives and they are gifts they do not belong to us they belong to him. We need to cherish the gifts of people and relationships in our lives because we just never know when they might be taken home to be with God again. remember to mend the fences that are broken if you can ,life on this earth is short for all of us.Derek may you rest in peace and in Glory with our Lord.

    Love Deb

  • Matthew Foor

    I never had the opportunity to meet Derek, but I have had the great pleasure of working with his Mother Karen.

    I was so very shocked and sad to hear of this news. As I have been reading about this tragic accident, it makes me cry. But I also believe that every positive moment we have on this earth is to be cherished. The amazing miracle of having a wonderful son is an incredible gift from God. The love, memories and impact that Derek made on earth will never go away. I will keep Karen and his family in my prayers and thoughts.

  • Adele Carpenter

    All best wishes and deepest condolences for your family, from myself and other SF cyclists. I am so sorry this happened and as an hope we will continue to work to build a city that is safer for a bicycle ride.

  • Kieli

    To Derek’s Family.
    Kieli,50yr old Cyclist. The Service was beautiful.I was amazed about the slide show and the comments. I had Learned ceramics at school in France,I went to the Philippines last May,and when I saw the photo of derek by Diamond head in Waikiki,I thought,we can be strangers all over not knowing we have things in common.

    As a cyclist for over 4yrs, I mostly ride on sidewalks and being careful for pedestrians…I know it’s not legal but I feel safer.
    Well yesterday,At Taraval st and 15th ave,I carefuly went onto the road and less than minute later,I swear, a car turned right on 15th right infront of me missing me by 1 foot…the driver never knew I was there.
    My bike is my daily transport,and yes bikers should be more careful every day and pay attention to the road rules,but car drivers also need to give us respect as well.

    I would like to know if you have news of the investigation concerning Derek accident. One or two buses involved???
    If two buses were involved,one was parked the other one behind is the one that hit Derek and the driver did not stop right away because if he did,Derek would have been lying on the street not under the bus. Maybe I’m wrong, or just concerned or trying to find a way to make sense and peace out of this tragedy.
    I just can wait for ful investigation.
    I know some people are going to hate me for writing this…it’s ok,I’m used to it for they say Cyclists are always wrong.
    DEREK immage and spirit will linger in our souls,on our bikes, on our daily rides. Deep in my heart,Iknow many cyclists will share this feeling. I would like to ask the Derek Allen family a permit to name my bike after him. If ok I would like to reach outhere!!!
    Let’s do it cyclists!!
    Derek is our angel now.
    Kieli.

  • rich415

    i heard the jackass jumped off the curb in front off the bus, dummy!!!

  • well rich415, you heard wrong. Buses have cameras and cameras don’t lie. jackass.

  • Kieli

    To Tori,
    You are right,I wish the Muni videos cameras would come up for us to see what happened that day, they’ll hide it from us.Some people call me “Dummy” before searching into what happened to Derek or what almost happened to me..3 time this year.
    two buses were involved in that accident but I can’t say more,
    we’ll wait and see. God bless,
    Cyclist Kieli.

  • Nora

    Derek,
    We love you and miss you terribly. Your Dad and I are in Santa Cruz.
    He has been so sad every day. I thought if I took him on a fun adventure he
    might feel better.
    We were watching TV last night and I looked over at your Dad and he had tears streaming down his face.
    We are desperately trying to find answers as to why you are no longer with us.
    We love you forever.
    Nora

  • Nora

    As the family of Derek Allen we are outraged that four months after Derek’s death we are still not able to get the police report or the autopsy report.

    We are being told that the Medical Examiner’s office “has not determined the cause of death”

    This is illegal as a signed autopsy report has to be finished before the medical examiner can release the body. His body was released over 4 months ago.

    We are desperate to find answers. SFPD won’t even give us the police report!
    It all spells “COVER UP” by SFPD!

  • I am so angry,because I don’t know what to do to help,
    I was at Derek memorial,I am a biker,and this tragedy is in my
    mind ever since. to this day, I still beleive that two buses were involved in the accident and that is why SFPD is covering up.
    and so Muni. What can we do? I want to help!
    maybe to ask the person who witness the all episode that day to come and tell? IF YOU SEE THESE LINES PLEASE COME FORWARD AND TELL
    US WHAT YOU SAW !!!
    you were at 6th ave and Clement and you saw it happen.Please share with the family.

  • Hannah3ramos

    Derek is my cousin.

  • Ewiley5150

    i’m sorry for your devastating loss, he reminds me of my son, who is also an only child and only 7 years old without a care in the world.  I am not sure I could go on with life if I were to experience what you have experienced. 

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