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.
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.”