Alleged Drunken Driver Pleads Not Guilty in Cyclist Hit-and-Run Death

Joshu_Calder_in_Court.jpgJoshua Calder, center, leaves the courtroom today after pleading not guilty to numerous charges in the death of a 22-year-old bicyclist. Photo: Bryan Goebel.

An Oakland man who allegedly hit and killed a 22-year-old bicyclist while driving drunk on Masonic Avenue one week ago switched seats with his girlfriend in his Mercedes-Benz after the crime and then fled the scene while the victim lay bleeding in the street, San Francisco prosecutors have alleged in court documents. 

The revelations came as 36-year-old Joshua Calder, who was released from jail after posting bail yesterday, pleaded not guilty in a San Francisco courtroom today to charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury and leaving the scene of the crash. If convicted of all charges, Calder could face up to nine years in prison.

The victim, Nils Yannick Linke, a German tourist, had been traveling southbound on Masonic Avenue last Friday night around 10:30 p.m. when he was hit from behind.

"I’ve never seen someone bleeding so much before. His bike was every
place. There was a seat down toward the pedestrian walking part.
It was really scary," a witness told Streetsblog. CBS5 video of the
aftermath showed one of the bike’s lights still blinking.

Sources who have seen a 9-page court document filed yesterday told Streetsblog that Calder, who admitted that he had been drinking, had a blood alcohol level of .10 two hours after the crash. According to the San Francisco Examiner, he and his girlfriend consumed "two bottles of wine, shots of liquor and after-dinner drinks" at a restaurant on Jackson Street in the Financial District.

The document indicates Calder got out of the vehicle after the crash, looked at Linke’s body — he was killed instantly — and grabbed what was left of the bike and placed it on the sidewalk.

Then, according to the document, Calder got back in his vehicle, but in the passenger’s seat, leaving the gruesome scene with his girlfriend at the wheel. She drove away and turned westbound on Golden Gate Avenue but they were caught by police a short time later at Tamalpais Terrace and Turk Street. It’s not known if the girlfriend will face charges.

In court today, Calder, who has no prior criminal record, sat calmly with two men by his side before his case was called. His attorney entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and he was ordered to return to court October 1 for a status hearing. He posted $500,000 bail yesterday.

Assistant District Attorney Brian Buckelew, who is prosecuting the case, said the DMV immediately suspended Calder’s driver license and will make a determination within 30 days whether to revoke it for a period of one to two years while the case winds its way through court. In the unlikely event the DMV does not revoke his license, Judge Ann Bouliane set conditions on his release allowing him to drive to and from work and court-ordered rehabilitation. He was also ordered not to consume any alcohol.

"Joshua Calder’s decision to drink and drive led to the tragic death of Nils Linke. We cannot tolerate this kind of reckless behavior in San Francisco," District Attorney Kamala Harris said in a press release issued earlier this week on the case.

Buckelew would not reveal how fast Calder was driving that night. He said he is still waiting for the autopsy report, CSI photos and information from accident reconstruction experts.

"We’ll wait and see what we have at the next court date and then likely set a preliminary hearing after that," he said.

A phone call to Calder’s attorney, Lewis Romero, was not returned.

Updated, 10:07 p.m.

  • 94103er

    Ah yes, I was just wondering if Marc Solomon/marcos/etc was banned in the past or if he finally just gave up on his incessant posts last year…or was that two years ago? Who remembers, who cares. 
    Anyway, Mike Sonn, ad-hominem badgering? Raving zealot? Whaa? Wow, how does the kettle get blacker than that.

    It’s kind of sad, really. The guy spewed forth about a dictionary’s worth of rambling comments that at times seemed desperate to assure us he’s the smartest and most well-informed transit advocate and at other times that he’s ‘speaking for his neighbors,’ or something. It goes to show that you can fill your head with facts and figures and jargon and still not even have even the slightest clue what’s going on.

    I really feel for Jay Primus and all those other folks who work for the city who have to see and listen to that guy at every single godforsaken meeting.

    Well, back to your Guardian fiefdom, marcos.

  • 94103er

    So you kind of missed the point, first of all, which would involve reading the article Sean is referencing. 

    Second, as a thought exercise, try to imagine a random article that talks about pedestrian hazards, like one about signal timing and how a delayed green might keep a pedestrian from getting hit by a straggling car. Then imagine the following comment: “Gee, I really get annoyed when guys walk on the left side of the sidewalk. And it’s really rude for people to walk and chew gum.”

    Wouldn’t that get a little tiresome after a while? And yet, every time somebody somewhere posts anything about cycling, there’s the inevitable “I saw these guys doing something annoying on their bikes and I’ve got to register my indignation!” comments.

  • mikesonn
  • marc.os

    Now I realize why I’d ignored this site for so long. 

    Northeast Mission residents and business people working on the SFPark issue give me positive feedback on my postings.  So long as they do, that is really all that counts.  So far we’ve managed to tie the city bureaucracy in knots on the contradictions in their own program.  That’s effectiveness.

    Unlike the crowd that only posts, I’ve spent the past 12 years both posting AND doing, on the Bike Advisory Committee that first raised the CEQA/LOS issue, on the Community Land Trust Task Force that paved the way for the first democratic resident run affordable housing cooperatives in decades, Prop H police reform, writing BoS resolution 0233-06 that set abandoning LOS as city policy, co-writing the Western SOMA Transportation Plan, serving on the TEP CAC and now on the MTA CAC. 

    How did I get appointed to all of this?  By helping elect candidates who shared much of my vision.  What did that teach me?  That single issue zealots are too siloed to know when they’re doing their cause, our cause harm and that there is a big picture.

    I also wrote the resolution in 2001 that started the process that ended up with a Harvey Milk memorial in City Hall which has nothing to do with transportation but is the accomplishment I’m the proudest of.

    Yeah I post a lot because I am bored and because there is so much group think posted here that results in issues I care about and work on losing ground, that crap needs to be dispelled and challenged.  Yes, it can get tedious, but my life and limb depends on it and watching the professional advocacy class bumble on is pretty damn tedious in its own right. 

    The comments on CEQA/LOS/TSP/TSF was the most substantially critical displacement of electrons on this site in some time.  The paid advocates were wrong on a host of critical issues over the past decade and other and I was correct, the record is not in dispute. Planning staff has yet to get back with me on the issue of how bike projects get mitigated in TSP/TSF because there does not appear to be any legally defensible mechanism for absolving non-development projects from transportation analysis, AND THAT IS A GOOD THING.  Odds are that supposedly forward thinking transportation people are giving the development community everything it wants and getting nothing in return, but like all generals, they remain mired in fighting the last war to reclaim their pride.
    I’m not laughing AT them, I’m laughing WITH them, even if they’re not laughing.

  • Yeah, the rest of us don’t do crap but spout off on message boards. We haven’t produced any “real change”, nosiree. Unless of course you want to take your bike on Caltrain, ride a bullet train on Caltrain on the weekend, sit in a parklet in Noe Valley, ride an improved bike lane at SFO….

    Then there is the do nothing Fran Taylor who wrote this blog post and you bash. Completely useless person. Hasn’t done anything except get Cesar Chavez ripped to shreds.

    But who cares about those things, since they are real and actually exist.

  • Phoca2004

    What a civilized way to behave uncivilized! 

  • davravidumn

    Whatever became of Joshua Calder? Did he at least serve time in prison?


How Many Deaths Will It Take to Fix Masonic Avenue?

An alleged drunk driver traveling more than double the speed limit on southbound Masonic Avenue at Turk Street struck and killed 61-year-old James Hudson of San Francisco in the crosswalk early this morning. The driver then continued his destructive path for another 13 blocks, according to police, damaging four parked cars along the way before […]