How do we "know" that bike messenger Casey Moe recklessly drove in front of an oncoming vehicle and therefore is responsible for causing his own death?

All we have to go on are the eye witnesses - and this so called "evidence" is incredibly thin.

Sergeant Mahoney told us that a total of five were interviewed. The Examiner quoted some of their statements. The Chronicle relied entirely on the comments of Sergeant Mahoney and Officer Fulwood. Neither were eye witnesses so their statements, which are made so definitively, fall in the category of theory, not fact.

The Examiner article - 8/28/97

A young San Francisco bike messenger was critically injured Thursday morning in the second serious accident involving a bicycle and vehicle in downtown San Francisco in four days.

(Info not related to accident description.)

"I saw him fly up in the air," said San Francisco office manager Dorothea Todd. "I was in horror. I couldn't begin to say how far he flew. He ended up on the street, all crumpled up."

Nothing offered about what led to the collision.

Police Officer Joe Finnigan reported that witnesses said Moe "turned right in front of the van. . . . He must have thought he would make it."

Wasn't there. Mind reading.

One witness described the messenger as "riding recklessly."

Unnamed witness. What exactly does "riding recklessly" mean?

"I noticed the cyclist because I saw he was so reckless," said bystander Stephanie Reardon. "The way I saw it, he hit the van."

This is the ONLY eye witness who claimed to see the actual collision. Her statement is highly subjective. It's also an unusual way to describe a cyclist hit by a van.

The driver of the van, who was not immediately identified, was described by Finnigan as shaken up but not injured.

"There was no way the van driver could react," Finnigan said. "It was a quick left turn in front of the van. I wasn't clear whether the bicyclist was trying to jump the curb or trying to make a U-turn."

Wasn't there. Mind reading.

Moe reportedly was eastbound on Market while the van was westbound.

Wells Fargo Bank employee Curtis Reid, 40, said, "The light was green. I heard a bang. I saw him in the air - 17 feet. I never saw anybody that high in the air without an Olympics pole. I saw him land like that skier in the agony of defeat. He bounced and it was on pavement."

"Heard" the collision. Did not see it. Contributes nothing to understanding the cause.

Then, Reid said, he called 911.

A Mission Emergency spokeswoman said Moe was in extremely critical condition with a serious head injury and broken leg. He was undergoing a CAT scan at the hospital two hours after the accident.

There were conflicting reports about whether Moe was wearing a helmet. Hillard L'ai, of Pacifica, said Moe was not. "It all happened in just an eighth of a second," L'ai said. "The guy (in the van) couldn't stop and the (bicyclist) just flew. It's a waste of life."

Why couldn't he stop? How did Moe get in front of the van? Not explained. Statement about the helmet entirely inaccurate.

(Info not related to accident.)

"We do stupid stuff, too," Gaston said, saying hurried messengers frequently take shortcuts. "But you have to measure: Is your life worth $5?" That's the price it takes to have a package delivered, he said.

This statement assumes that Moe did something stupid. This man was not a witness. Anyway, why assume Moe was in a rush? He may have been returning from a delivery. He was, after all, heading towards the direction of the bike messengers' waiting spot.

Q: Do messengers race to get there? A: No.

But Moe's bosses said he was a good messenger who didn't take unnecessary risks. "The guy was a professional messenger, he knows the business, he knows what it takes to get the job done," said Aero's operations branch manager, Sam Guillory. "He knows the rules, and he knows the laws. He wasn't into Critical Mass. He wasn't one of those radical bikers. He just did his job and he did it well."

Added Aero chief executive officer Kirk Sparks, "There's always an incentive to deliver a package as quickly as possible. There's no incentive for a bike messenger to endanger his life."

Unfortunately, he said, a lot of messengers do take deadly risks. "What we're talking about is a lot of young people who think they're invincible," said Sparks, whose firm is the biggest in The City and employs about 100 messengers.

Keep in mind, this is a general statement, not related to this case or individual.

Sparks said the company offers its messengers, who earn about $300 a week, health coverage on a 50-50 basis, but Moe was not covered. Moe, a San Ramon Valley High School graduate who also attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco, has a 4-year-old son who lives with his estranged wife.

So how does the world "know for sure" that Casey Moe "recklessly" drove into the way of the van?

This statement - and only this statement - is all we have to go on.

"I noticed the cyclist because I saw he was so reckless," said bystander Stephanie Reardon. "The way I saw it, he hit the van."

What an extraordinarily slim foundation on which to base the final conclusion that this fatal accident was caused by the bicyclist.

Why would an experienced bike messenger suddenly change his course into oncoming traffic? We know it was not to turn onto Sansome as the police and papers claim.

Here's a clue from a statement we received that did not make it to the official record:

"I heard from a coworker/friend who came upon the scene right after Casey had been hit (so didn't really see it happen) that people there said there was a pedestrian involved. That Casey was swerving to avoid hitting the pedestrian who possibly stepped out into the street because the sidewalk was too crowded -- not necessarily with people, but with stuff, e.g., the kiosk, the BART/Muni elevator and entrance. She said that the pedestrian disappeared." More on this

We're currently trying to get more information from this individual.

By the way, the JC Decaux employee was not quoted in any article though he did give a statement to the police.

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