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Monday, November 18, 2013

Cheng Jin Lai: Lawyer for Slain Cyclist's Family Says Muni Won't Surrender Police Report

Posted By on Mon, Nov 18, 2013 at 7:00 AM

click to enlarge Cheng Jin Lai's hobbies included fishing and cycling. The latter would lead to tragedy. - LEFT: EVAN DUCHARME. RIGHT: KTVU-TV
  • Left: Evan DuCharme. Right: KTVU-TV
  • Cheng Jin Lai's hobbies included fishing and cycling. The latter would lead to tragedy.

SF Weekly has written a bit on the sad and unfortunate death of Cheng Jin Lai, the 78-year-old cyclist last month crushed by a 27-Bryant Muni bus.

Articles in this paper revealed that the bus was missing a part called an "S-1 Gard." This bumper-like device is specifically designed to prevent people from being crushed beneath a bus' right rear wheel -- as Lai was. Those news stories spurred a fleetwide inspection, which led to the discovery that 14 of Muni's 801 buses were missing S-1 Gards.

That's a low ratio: not quite 2 percent. As we wrote earlier, this renders Lai unlucky even among that unfortunate subset of people run over by buses.

Meanwhile, the attorney hired by Lai's survivors says his inquiries are being blocked with S-1 Gard-like efficiency.

"We've made requests for the police report," says lawyer Mark Fong. "But Muni is holding onto it pretty tightly."

SF Weekly
has learned from sources within Muni that footage available to the agency purportedly depicts Lai going beneath the right rear wheel of Bus. No. 8410.

See Also: Muni's Reaction to a Preventable Death Reveals Its True Self

An S-1 Gard on the left -- and the lack of one on the right. - LEFT: EVAN DUCHARME. RIGHT: KTVU-TV
  • Left: Evan DuCharme. Right: KTVU-TV
  • An S-1 Gard on the left -- and the lack of one on the right.

Messages for Muni regarding Fong's claims have not yet been returned.

Fong has been retained by Lai's widow, Guang-Mei Qui, and his three children residing in the United States. Four more of Lai's children live in China. Following a memorial there, Fong anticipates the entire family "getting on board" and the case moving forward.

How far it moves forward sans a police report and footage remains to be seen, however.

Fong was reticent to speak much at this point. Regarding the missing S-1 Gard, however, he said "Certainly that's not good."

Update, 1:59 p.m.: Muni spokesman Paul Rose responds:

"A police report would come from SFPD. They are the only entity able to share that information. All footage was provided to SFPD. They don't normally release it until the investigation is complete."


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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Bio:
Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.

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