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.”

  • mikesonn

    “will increase their vigilance in protecting pedestrians in the neighborhood of Eddy and Larkin Streets.” 
    Post and Van Ness was the site of another red-light running driver on Saturday. Said driver killed a motorcyclist in what SFPD characterized as an “accident”.

  • Anonymous

    People make quick decisions to take risks, and since nothing comes of it most of the time they develop too much self-confidence and the risks become a regular habit.

    Motorists are speeding, running red lights and changing lanes without looking all the time.  Pedestrians are disregarding similar laws which apply to them.  When one act of carelessness causes an injury or death, it’s viewed as the rare exception and it doesn’t change most people’s habits.

    How many tragedies will we have to hear about/witness before very many people realize the few minutes they save every week aren’t worth the consequences?  If you take a selfish shortcut of any type, you put others in harm’s way.  That applies even to pedestrians, who can cause chain reaction accidents or, at the very least, traumatize the motorists who hit them.

  • Jon Bate

    The care you need to take when travelling through the city is proportionate to the potential you have for causing harm. The chance of a pedestrian killing a motorist by breaking a traffic law are close to zero. The chance of a driver killing a pedestrian by breaking a traffic law are considerable.

    Likewise, bikes are more dangerous than pedestrians but far less dangerous than cars. So motorists need to take more care than cyclists, and cyclists need to take more care than pedestrians.

  • Andthenthereis

    The cab driver was Reza Eslaminia.  You may recognize his name from the Billionaire Boys Club murder case in the 1980’s. I know him very well and he is the most horrible selfish person you could ever meet.  He has only been driving a cab in SF for a couple months and frankly I am not surprised at this turn of events.  He actually was deported from the US but they didn’t make him leave because he had been convicted of a drug related offense and the INS would have to send an agent to personally escort him to Iran which they won’t do.  He is a horrible person who should rott in jail for things he has done to many many people.   

  • Sf24hr

     This is an inexcusable tragedy but do consider that San Francisco Taxicabs travel over a million miles every 5 days.

  • Anonymous



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