A newly obtained document on the April 4 death of champion cyclist Ethan Boyes indicates the driver who struck and killed him on a Presidio roadway may have been intoxicated — though authorities are releasing very little information about the investigation.
When two-time USA Cycling Masters Track National Champion Ethan Boyes was hit by a car and killed in early April while biking in the Presidio, there was some speculation on social media that the driver was drunk. Now, two months later, we’re getting possible confirmation that may have been the case. The Chronicle has obtained the medical examiner's report on Boyes, and which includes the detail that a U.S. Park Police officer suspected the driver was indeed intoxicated.*
Chronicle Exclusive: U.S. Park Police officials suspected that the driver who struck and killed a champion cyclist in San Francisco’s Presidio in April was intoxicated at the time of the fatal crash. https://t.co/58yQxQKJeu— San Francisco Chronicle (@sfchronicle) June 5, 2023
This determination is not certain. But in the document the Chronicle obtained, it was noted that U.S. Park Police Officer Andrew Hernandez told investigators, “The driver of the vehicle was in custody at [SF General] for possibly driving under the influence at the time of the incident.”
Safe street activists Luke Bornheimer and David Alexander address tonight’s crowd honoring Ethan Boyes and demanding protected lanes.— Friends of Slow Lake Street❤️🚶♀️🧑🏻🦼🚴🏾♂️🚎 (@SlowLakeStreet) April 12, 2023
Palpable sadness and frustration with the lack of action in SF’s District 1.
Over the last 15 years, hundreds have been injured on Arguello. pic.twitter.com/pmcGrK6gfM
Note how they only say the driver was “possibly driving under the influence,” and his custody was at SF General, not at county jail. The driver still has not been named publicly, nor is there any indication that the driver was charged with any crime. The U.S. Park Police declined the Chronicle’s request for comment, saying that commenting on the matter could compromise any future prosecution.
Good news: SFMTA created a design for Arguello by May 4 as promised (thank you SFMTA staff!).— Luke Bornheimer ([email protected]) (@LukeBornheimer) May 5, 2023
Not-so-good news: The design still has sections of unprotected bike lanes and unprotected intersections. Also, there’s no plan to install Quick-Build immediately.https://t.co/Hxz74SN5x8
Boyes’s death has brought some lasting change, albeit a modest change. The Chronicle reported in early May that protected bike lanes would be installed on the stretch of Presidio streets where Boyes was hit and killed. (Those streets are under the jurisdiction of the Presidio Trust, not the SFMTA.) Transit activists were pleased with the intent, but find the current version of the plans to be perhaps somewhat flimsy.
The president of the sustainable transit group Protected Arguello, Luke Bornheimer, said in a statement that “While the Presidio Trust’s plans include protected bike lanes separated by bollards (will these ‘bollards’ be made of concrete or steel?), the Trust’s near-term plan consists entirely of signage, pavement markings, speed cushions — which have cutouts for cars to drive through them at full speed — and flexible posts, many of which are inadequate for protecting people, never mind slowing car traffic or ensuring another person isn’t killed on Arguello.”
Boyes’s family and friends, and the larger bicyclist community, are understandably frustrated by how little information has been released about his death. But the Presidio is federal land, the U.S. Park Police are a federal organization, and federal investigations do tend to take longer than local police investigations. So any developments may come in the form of newspaper reporters digging, and not any announcement from the feds.
Image: @kevinchlo via Twitter
*This article has been corrected to show that no U.S. Park Police report has been released on this accident. The Park Police issued a statement saying, "This investigation is still ongoing and our priority is to maintain the integrity of the evidence and information as to not impact any potential prosecution."