DA Investigating Charges Against Taxi Driver Who Killed Man in Tenderloin

Photo: Sally Khim

Criminal charges may be brought against the taxi driver who killed pedestrian Edmund Cappalla on August 11 at Eddy and Larkin Streets, according to Denis O’Leary, head of the SFPD Traffic Company. SFPD investigators reportedly submitted the case to the District Attorney’s office last Wednesday.

While it’s not known which charges the DA could file, O’Leary said in an e-mail that the SFPD “will not charge the driver with the infractions of running a red light or failing to yield to a pedestrian as those are lesser included offenses of the charge of vehicular manslaughter and citing the driver for those infractions would compromise a future prosecution.”

A request for comment from the DA’s office was not returned as of press time.

“Walk SF and its members are very pleased to see the fast response from the police and certainly look forward to equally swift action from the District Attorney,” said Walk SF Executive Director Elizabeth Stampe in response to the SFPD statements. “It’s important to make clear that it’s not OK to run a red light and kill a person on San Francisco streets.”

O’Leary said investigators confirmed reports that the driver of the taxi van ran a red light while traveling east on Eddy, when he was hit by another driver traveling north on Larkin (through a green light), causing the taxi to spin and strike Cappalla in a crosswalk along Larkin.

“There were at least ten witnesses who remained at the scene. A video of part of the collision was found at a nearby surveillance camera and was seized as evidence,” O’Leary said. ”The van was impounded. There was no indication of intoxication on the part of the van’s driver.”

O’Leary also noted that officers from the Traffic Company and the local Northern Station “will increase their vigilance in protecting pedestrians in the neighborhood of Eddy and Larkin Streets.” O’Leary said he couldn’t provide the taxi driver’s name “as doing so could compromise the investigation and jeopardize the prosecution.”