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Despite DUI, Motorcyclist In Crash That Killed Cable Car Operator Gets 1 Year Home Detention

Image: Google Maps
By Allie Pape - Published on June 20, 2016.

A motorcyclist who struck and killed a cable car operator in North Beach last June was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor driving under the influence—despite the wishes of the victim's family to charge him with a felony. According to CBS, the motorcyclist, 23-year-old William Makepeace, was sentenced to one year of home detention and five years of probation. 

Police found that Makepeace had a .12 blood alcohol level on the evening of June 11, 2015, when he collided from behind with 51-year-old Reynaldo Abraham "Avy" Morante, who was exiting his cable car at Taylor and Francisco streets. Morante, a longtime SFMTA employee, was hospitalized for nearly six months, ultimately dying from his injuries in January. 

Prosecutor Lailah Morris read a statement from Morante's daughter Josephine in court, in which she objected to the plea agreement that allowed him to plead to misdemeanors rather than felonies. “It’s honestly a slap in the face that our father is dead and you are walking away with two misdemeanors,” Morante wrote.

However, Makepeace's attorney, while acknowledging that his client broke the law by riding under the influence, said the accident was “essentially unavoidable,” even if Makepeace hadn't been drinking: “The street was obstructed by cable cars, and Mr. Morante was walking the middle of a dark street with his back to traffic."

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