Hit-and-run driver gets maximum sentence for severely injuring SFPD officer

Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel suffered permanent brain damage in the collision

The driver who struck a bicycling police officer while fleeing authorities in San Francisco has been sentenced to more than a decade in prison, prosecutors said Thursday.

A judge sentenced Willie Flanigan, 51, to the maximum term of 12 years and eight months in prison Wednesday afternoon for hitting Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel.

Lewin-Tankel suffered permanent brain damage from the impact and is still being treated in a medical care facility, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

“This man’s recklessness took a significant toll on an officer and his family,” District Attorney George Gascon said in a statement. “But the victim’s family and the entire SFPD came together to rally around Officer Lewin-Tankel in support of his recovery.”

Flanigan was in a stolen vehicle on Oct. 18, 2017 when he fled police in the Western Addition and struck Lewin-Tankel on Turk Street near Van Ness Avenue.

Prosecutors said Flanigan got away but was arrested later that day.

In July, a jury convicted him of charges including assault with a deadly weapon, hit-and-run driving and receiving stolen property.

“Officer Elia Lewin-Tankel is an outstanding member of our department,” Police Chief Bill Scott said in a statement. “We hope the sentencing of the defendant will bring some measure of relief for Elia and his family as he continues his recovery.”


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