The man convicted in the October 2017 hit-and-run collision that gravely injured SFPD officer Elia Lewin-Tankel was sentenced Thursday to the maximum possible term of 12 years and 8 months in prison.
51-year-old Willie Flanagan, who also went by the names Maurice A. Johnson and Maurquise Johnson, was found guilty last month by a jury, and convicted of assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run, evading and resisting an officer, fleeing the scene of an accident, receiving stolen property, and being an unlicensed driver.
As KPIX reports, Flanagan was sentenced today, and District Attorney George Gascon issued the following statement: "This man’s recklessness took a significant toll on an officer and his family. But the victim’s family and the entire SFPD came together to rally around Officer Lewin-Tankel in support of his recovery. We wish Officer Lewin-Tankel a full recovery, and our victim services division will continue to provide assistance throughout that process."
Flanagan was fleeing police when he ducked his SUV into a parking garage on Golden Gate Avenue near Van Ness. As he exited the garage on Turk Street between Van Ness and Franklin, he struck Lewin-Tankel, who was on a bicycle, and then fled the scene. Officers soon found Flanagan's vehicle abandoned near Buena Vista Park, and quickly apprehended Flanagan, who still had the keys to the vehicle in his pocket.
As SFist reported at the time, Flanagan had recently been released from jail, after a December 2016 arrest and conviction for crack possession.
Lewin-Tankel, 32, suffered a severe brain injury in the collision, and has remained in a medical care facility since leaving the hospital nearly two years ago. He joined the SFPD in 2012, and was assigned to Tenderloin Station in March 2016. At the time of the collision, he had already received a Purple Heart from the department in connection with an injury he sustained in the line of duty in 2015. He had started law school, and was teaching jiu-jitsu to others in the department, as well as volunteering, when he was gravely injured once more.
Tenderloin District Station Captain Carl Fabbri issued a statement Thursday, per KRON 4, saying, "Elia is a loved and respected member of our station who has set an example for all through his engagement with Tenderloin residents. The verdict and sentencing in this case reflect the level of community support for our officers who are committed to protecting our neighborhoods despite the risks they face every day."
Photo of Flanagan (left) via SFPD; photo of Lewin-Tankel via Facebook
Related: SFPD Officer Hit By Car On Turk Street