The San Francisco Examiner was on the scene today at a hearing for Joshua Calder. Looks like the People of the City and County of San Francisco are going to trial against him. Oh, and see what the Bay City News Service adds in, via The Bay Citizen.
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So, for equal time, here’s another side to the story:
“SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 18, 2011 – Petra Linke and Jüergen Schneider-Linke have filed a wrongful death lawsuit (case no.CGC-11-507332 [see SF StreetsBlog]) in San Francisco County Superior Court for the August 13th death of their son, 22-year-old Nils Yannick Linke, a German tourist who was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle on Masonic Avenue in San Francisco. The suit, filed by The Veen Firm, names Joshua Calder, the vehicle’s driver; Nicole Mairs, Calder’s girlfriend who was a passenger in the vehicle; and June Soelberg, the vehicle’s registered owner. Calder is facing criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of an accident; he remains free on $500,000.00 bail.
“The defendants willfully got behind the wheel of a car after an evening of drinking and struck down Nils as he rode his bike. They left the scene of the accident without rendering any assistance or calling for help. The result is this young man’s tragic death. While Calder is being tried in a criminal court, all of the defendants are also guilty of negligence.” said Kevin Lancaster of The Veen Firm.
On Aug. 13, 2010, Calder and Mairs had dinner in San Francisco, consuming two bottles of wine, a champagne cocktail, a beer and two shots of liqueur. After leaving the restaurant, Calder was driving a Mercedes-Benz, registered to Mairs’ grandmother, June Soelberg. While driving down Masonic Avenue, Calder struck Linke from behind. Linke’s bike had a flashing white light on it.
The complaint alleges that Calder collided into Linke, causing him to hit the windshield before he landed in the street. Calder then pulled the car to the side of the road and checked on Linke, who was convulsing and bleeding from the nose and ears. Instead of rendering aid or calling for help, Calder moved the mangled bicycle to the side of the road, and returned to the car. Mairs took over driving and sped away from the scene of the accident.
A few blocks away, police officers stopped the car. Calder was arrested for driving under the influence; more than two hours after the accident his blood alcohol content was .10 percent. His blood also tested positive for cannibinoids.
Linke was transported by the San Francisco Police Department Medic to San Francisco General Hospital, where he died from his injuries.
“Clearly this tragedy is a direct result of Maris’ and Calder’s blatant disregard for the safety of others. However, this case also highlights the need for safer streets for bicyclists in the city. For years, safety advocates and residents of Masonic Avenue have been attempting to get the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency to implement more traffic calming measures in the area. For instance, the area between Fell and Geary on Masonic has ranked as the tenth highest corridor for bicycle collisions for the past five years. Due to the efforts of groups such as Bike NOPA, SF Bike Coalition, Fix Masonic, and others, many changes have been made and more are in the works. The streets should be safe for all roadway users, including bicyclists,” added Lancaster.
The Veen Firm focuses on recovering damages for the catastrophically injured and has since 1975. The firm specializes in catastrophic injury, construction accident, legal malpractice, medical malpractice, negligence, premises liability, product liability, toxic exposure and wrongful death cases. For more information visit: http://www.veenfirm.com“
And here’s some background from last year. (I don’t know how many continuances this case has had, but it’s best for everyone to get it tried quickly, right?)
“Wow, writer Brent Begin is all over the case of Nils Linke, who was killed in a collision with the Mercedes-driving Joshua Calder last Friday. Here are the latest allegations made public.
First the “booze-soaked dinner” at Kokkari:
“Investigators pulled the receipt for the meal, which included two bottles of wine, shots of liquor and after-dinner drinks, according to documents.”
And then the alleged seat switching:
“Witnesses report seeing Calder smash into the back of Linke and his bicycle, then getting out of the driver’s seat, moving the bike to the side of the road, then switching seats with his girlfriend before fleeing the scene.”
Was the SFPD able to pull prints off of the bicycle? If so, this is not your typical hit-and-run felony case, that’s for sure.
Wonder how up-to-speed the staff at Kokkari is about California law. We may soon find out….
CA Business and Professions Code 25602:
(a) Every person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to
be sold, furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage to any
habitual or common drunkard or to any obviously intoxicated person is
guilty of a misdemeanor.
(b) No person who sells, furnishes, gives, or causes to be sold,
furnished, or given away, any alcoholic beverage pursuant to
subdivision (a) of this section shall be civilly liable to any
injured person or the estate of such person for injuries inflicted on
that person as a result of intoxication by the consumer of such
(c) The Legislature hereby declares that this section shall be
interpreted so that the holdings in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (5
Cal. 3d 153), Bernhard v. Harrah’s Club (16 Cal. 3d 313) and Coulter
v. Superior Court (____ Cal. 3d ____) be abrogated in favor of prior
judicial interpretation finding the consumption of alcoholic
beverages rather than the serving of alcoholic beverages as the
proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an intoxicated
CA Business and Professions Code 25602.1:
Notwithstanding subdivision (b) of Section 25602, a cause
of action may be brought by or on behalf of any person who has
suffered injury or death against any person licensed, or required to
be licensed, pursuant to Section 23300, or any person authorized by
the federal government to sell alcoholic beverages on a military base
or other federal enclave, who sells, furnishes, gives or causes to
be sold, furnished or given away any alcoholic beverage, and any
other person who sells, or causes to be sold, any alcoholic beverage,
to any obviously intoxicated minor where the furnishing, sale or
giving of that beverage to the minor is the proximate cause of the
personal injury or death sustained by that person.
CA Civil Code 1714:
(a) Everyone is responsible, not only for the result of his
or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by
his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or
her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully
or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or
herself. The design, distribution, or marketing of firearms and
ammunition is not exempt from the duty to use ordinary care and skill
that is required by this section. The extent of liability in these
cases is defined by the Title on Compensatory Relief.
(b) It is the intent of the Legislature to abrogate the holdings
in cases such as Vesely v. Sager (1971) 5 Cal.3d 153, Bernhard v.
Harrah’s Club (1976) 16 Cal.3d 313, and Coulter v. Superior Court
(1978) 21 Cal.3d 144 and to reinstate the prior judicial
interpretation of this section as it relates to proximate cause for
injuries incurred as a result of furnishing alcoholic beverages to an
intoxicated person, namely that the furnishing of alcoholic
beverages is not the proximate cause of injuries resulting from
intoxication, but rather the consumption of alcoholic beverages is
the proximate cause of injuries inflicted upon another by an
(c) No social host who furnishes alcoholic beverages to any person
may be held legally accountable for damages suffered by that person,
or for injury to the person or property of, or death of, any third
person, resulting from the consumption of those beverages.”