Taxi Driver Who Killed Man in Tenderloin Yet to Be Cited or Charged

Photos: Sally Khim

Police are still looking into whether charges could be filed against the taxi driver who allegedly ran a red light at Eddy and Larkin Streets Saturday, causing a car crash that killed pedestrian Edmund Capalla, the SF Examiner reports. The driver has reportedly yet to be arrested or cited.

“We have to see if he was negligent,” SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza told the Examiner. “He may have had a medical emergency, I don’t know.” Esparza called the crash a “heartbreaking accident,” adding that it “could have been prevented if laws had been obeyed.”

Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe said “the police should be telling us what actually happened, not speculating on excuses for the driver.”

“We know there was a medical emergency: Edmund Capalla was hit and killed while walking,” she said. “We expect solid information from the police about how this occurred. Walk SF and its members want to see swift action on this case from the police and, if appropriate, from the District Attorney’s office.”

Christina Siadat and Sally Khim were at a store on Larkin when they heard the crash. “We ran outside and saw the red car on the pole,” Siadat told Streetsblog. “We walked around the corner and there was the man lying face down with shattered glass.”

Siadat said a clerk at a corner store confirmed reports that the taxi driver ran a red light when the driver of the red car, who had a green light, hit the taxi, causing it to slam into Capalla, who was crossing the street. “The clerk said that the cab driver was sitting on the curb with his head in his hands,” she said.

The crash occurred just before 7 p.m., during daylight hours. Capalla, who died at San Francisco General Hospital, was the eleventh known pedestrian killed in the city this year.

The driver of the red car, who reportedly entered the intersection with a green light, hit the taxi before running into a pole. Siadat said she and Khim didn't notice the taxi at the time.
  • Zack

    “A heartbreaking accident” that “could have been prevented if laws had been obeyed”?  Seriously?  If something could have been prevented by obeying laws, it’s NOT an accident.  When is the SFPD going to stop condoning this type of dangerous, homicidal behavior?  Oh, probably never, they’re too busy ticketing cyclists in the Wiggle to properly investigate and prosecute crimes like this where people are actually hurt.

  • To be fair, it was a long time before Chris Bucchere was charged. Everyone gets due process.

    Also to be fair, there was pretty much no doubt that Chris Bucchere would be charged. For cases like this one feels like there will be no charges – see Robert Yegge where it is known the driver failed to yield.

  • Armstrongp2000

    It seems like the

  • Zack

    You’re right, it did take a long time to charge him, but like you said, that seemed more about HOW they would charge him, not if.  There’s also the case of Sena Putra (
    http://sf.streetsblog.org/2012/05/21/sena-putra-47-killed-by-truck-driver-at-13th-and-folsom/) in which I don’t recall hearing about any charges either.  

  • ubringliten

    “We have to see if he was negligent,” SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza told the Examiner. “He may have had a medical emergency, I don’t know.”
    So it’s okay if you have a medical emergency to warrant such act?  Sheesh!

  • Gneiss

    I hate when people call these events ‘accidents’.  It completely takes the human element out of the equation and suggests that no one is at fault.  Sure – the driver is certainly remorseful and didn’t wake up this morning thinking they were going to kill someone, but it totally ignores the fact that someone is dead as a result of their actions. 

    One way we make public safety more of a priority, would be to make killing or injuring someone while breaking a traffic law grounds for an immediate one year suspension of a drivers license and loss of vehicle pending the outcome of a criminal trial – that’s a civil rather than criminal proceeding and doesn’t require same burden of proof.

    Consider this – the Coast Guard has a zero tolerance approach toward drugs on a boat.  If they find them, you lose your boat.  Why can’t we at least take away the keys and license for drivers who break a traffic law then kill or main on our streets? 

  • Anonymous

    And if one damn spokesman from the police department makes the excuse that they don’t have enough resources to patrol all the intersections for speeding, red-light running, etc while they are out there ticketing cyclists on the Wiggle or at 4th & King Caltrain, somebody needs to call them on this and tell them they could easily grab some officers from the useless cracking-down of cyclists.

  • Anonymous

    And there’s the fact that the article got top-billing on all the mainstream news while this has barely made the news.

  • Anonymous

    “Sure – the driver is certainly remorseful and didn’t wake up this
    morning thinking they were going to kill someone, but it totally ignores
    the fact that someone is dead as a result of their actions.”

    The problem is also that people have become numb to how much power — and hence how much responsibility — is under their control each time they get behind the wheel. We have to come to think of it so casually that we no longer think about the downsides of driving, let alone driving too fast, recklessly, or while distracted. This is mainly society’s fault and which is what needs to be changed via harsher laws. You can put money on the fact that people will remember what is at stake if they lose their license, pay huge fines, and are held criminally liable if they hit somebody due to their own fault. Right now, why would anybody consider the downsides of driving when they get behind the wheel when there is no reason to? I mean, the downsides are you might feel bad for a while, but that’s the extent of it.

  • Cadence

    For some reason I see more lousy drivers operating taxis than other vehicles. Eg, headlights not turned on at night, speeding, not using signals, harassing bicycle riders by cutting off and stopping in front 3 times on Market street over one block, running red lights is quite common too, stealing right of way at 4way stops, parking in intersections and blocking pedestrians. etc. Once a squad car full of police officer saw how a taxis cab driver tried to cut me off to make a right turn without using turn signals and one of the officer yelled “learn to smile”, and drove on, which send a clear message about their concerns and priorities.
     In my opinion if people are getting paid to be on the road(taxi, ambulance, police, bus drivers), then their driving capacity and responsibility should be well above average. However all too often that fails to be the case.

  • The Greasybear

    Why is SFPD offering up potential excuses for a motorist who ran a red light and killed a pedestrian? Bias, bias, bias. SFPD continues to coddle even the most dangerous and harmful motorists–as it continues indulging in ticketing crusades against harmless bicyclists.   

    Why is the corporate Bay Area media ignoring this story, with its direct parallels to the Chris Bucchere incident that led the newscasts and topped the headlines? Bias, bias, bias. The media either cannot see, or refuses to reliably report, how much more harmful motorists are to pedestrians (and all other road users) than a rogue cyclist could ever be.

  • J1bug

    Most police know better to give facts only and not their opinion or excuses. Some people shouldn’t be in their profession they’re in. Really upset on this one!!!!

  • D10

    “We have to see if he was negligent,” SFPD spokesperson Albie Esparza told the Examiner. “He may have had a medical emergency, I don’t know.” Esparza called the crash a “heartbreaking accident,” adding that it “could have been prevented if laws had been obeyed.”

    Are you serious?!?!? That SOB ran a red light and killed Ed. How much more negligent does he have to be???? This guy took away our someone who was kind, funny, loving, a friend, just an all around special and amazing person. I will miss your laugh my friend. Love D10

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think it’s bias.  Pedestrian deaths involving automobiles are very common and so not newsworthy.  Pedestrian deaths involving bicyclists are a new phenomenon. 

  • If it’s not bias, what do you call it?

    Two assailants, both of whom deserve charges, one used a bike, one used a car. Because many assailants use cars, the assailant with the car gets off with a wrist slap or nothing, the assailant with a bike goes to jail.

    The phenomenon is new, but treating one class of assailant different than the other is bias.

  • Anonymous

     @pchazzz:disqus wrote: “I don’t think it’s bias.  Pedestrian deaths involving automobiles are
    very common and so not newsworthy.  Pedestrian deaths involving
    bicyclists are a new phenomenon.”

    Right: that’s the very definition of a bias. The actual merit or consequences of the incidents aren’t considered, just that’s it’s new and unusual. That leads to a distorted sense of what is truly important and dangerous. Hence the problem.

  • The stupid taxi driver ran a red light of course he was negligent! Arrest the idiot and get him off the streets. I hope the Police are making sure he is not out in a cab the next day!

  •  I worked at a cab company and know they will place drivers back on the street right away without acting responsibly to public safety.

  • J1bug

    That officer Esparaza should apologize to Capalla family for making excuses for the death of Ed. If he’s not fired then him or/and the chief should apologize on their behalf for these actions. I wanted to be a police officer but not when I know how some people are. And yes there’s a lot of them. I can’t team up like that.

  • Why don’t these dam drivers not getting the
    seriousness of their job? Need to be more serious and accurate about the
    licence delivering, should put him in the hell not in the prison. Feel sorry
    for the victim.

     

  • Missionrain

    This driver running a red light is a threat to everyone. However, rogue cyclists are also threats to everyone. They also run red lights, yet are fortunate enough others don’t hit them, race the wrobg way down one ways, make erratcis tunrs from wrong lanes, and charge down sidewalks. More of them need to be charged as do automobile drivers. Eco-terrorists.

  • Stillnocharges

     I am curious why there has been no charges filed against this individual who was driving the cab in this accident!  Also interested in the fact that the story just quietly went away without any further cries of outrage from WalkSF and similar groups.  Especially considering the individual had a passenger who tried to alert him to the red light but he was too busy talking to listen.  Furthermore, the driver, Reza Eslaminia, had previously been in prison for murdering his own father but got out on a technicality, he is known to be using pot at all times, and he had already been deported a few years ago after being convicted of another drug crime.  However, he was not removed from the country due to a loophole in the law!!!  Look up Reza Eslaminia & The billionaire Boys club, that is the driver who killed Mr.Capalla.  Eslaminia has gone through life destroying others lives with no remorse and zero repercussions!!!  Looks like the door stop DA strikes again.

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SF District Attorney George Gascón put out a call today for the arrest of Ezra Eslaminia, the taxi driver who killed 39-year-old Edmund Capalla last August when he caused a car crash at Eddy and Larkin Streets. According to the DA’s office, Eslaminia was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter on March 29, but police have been […]

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