The driver accused of plowing into a pedestrian near Lake Merced may have been going as fast as 50 to 80 mph when he “intentionally” ran a red light and caused the deadly collision, prosecutors said in newly filed court records.
Jerry Olee Lyons, 31, is facing a number of felony charges as serious as gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in connection with the death last Thursday of 26-year-old pedestrian Sheria Musyoka.
Prosecutors say Lyons was driving a stolen Ford truck south on Lake Merced Boulevard while under the influence when he accelerated past vehicles stopped at Higuera Avenue and blew through the red light.
Musyoka, a recent Dartmouth graduate from Kenya and father of a young child who had just moved to San Francisco 10 days earlier, was lawfully crossing Lake Merced Boulevard at the same moment.
The impact “propelled the pedestrian over 280 feet,” Assistant District Attorney John Delgado said in a motion seeking to detain Lyons without bail. The driver then slammed the truck into numerous vehicles.
“He exited the vehicle and instead of checking on or rendering aid to others, he went to the sidewalk, where witnesses described him smoking an unknown substance from a foil pipe,” Delgado said.
Musyoka died at the scene while three others were injured, authorities said. Lyons was arrested and later admitted to stealing the truck as well as taking drugs, according to Delgado.
Lyons pleaded not guilty Tuesday to numerous charges stemming from the collision including vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident and stealing a vehicle. He is also facing charges over a Dec. 3 arrest for allegedly driving under the influence of both drugs and alcohol. He has a long history of arrests for drug- and theft-related offenses out of San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
His attorney, Deputy Public Defender Martina Avalos, offered her condolences to the family in a statement.
“We are just now starting to receive information in this case,” Avalos said. “As we continue to learn about this tragic occurrence, we encourage the public to honor the principle fundamental to our society that a person charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. This principle not only protects Mr. Lyons’ rights but all of ours.”
Lyons remains in custody. A judge is expected to decide Thursday morning whether to detain him without bail pending trial.
Community members are planning to hold a vigil for Musyoka on Thursday evening. The public event is scheduled for 5:15 p.m. at 1 Harding Road across from the Lake Merced Boathouse.
Musyoka is survived by his wife, Hannah Ege, and their 3-year-old son, Theo. A GoFundMe page set up to support the family has raised more than $123,000 as of Wednesday.