Life of man found dead on bus torn apart by drugs, crime

Warm weather and an impressive skateboard scene lured Christopher Feasel to San Francisco, but he stumbled into drug addiction and homelessness before turning up dead on a parked Muni bus.

A cleaning crew discovered Feasel around midnight Friday aboard a 5-Fulton that had been parked since 6:30 p.m. after completing a rush-hour shift, Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman Judson True said.

An autopsy was scheduled Monday for the 37-year-old San Francisco resident, who had no fixed address at the time of his death, but the cause may not be known for weeks. The body showed no sign of trauma, according to police.

Feasel’s ex-wife, Oregon resident DeDee Peterson, said Monday she had not been in contact with Feasel for more than 10 years.

“Addiction is the reason we separated, and he struggled with that,” Peterson said. “Before drugs he was an amazing, amazing person. And we were in San Francisco when he really started using drugs and it completely changed his life.”

Feasel grew up in Michigan and Massachusetts, the child of supportive and loving parents, she said. Peterson described him as very intelligent and said he majored in sociology and anthropology at the University of North Carolina,
Wilmington.

He joined friends in the Bay Area while in his early 20s and Peterson moved there soon afterward. The couple, who met on the East Coast, were married for six months before separating, Peterson said.

“It was heartbreaking when this happened to us. We were best friends and when he started using, he was a horrible addict,” she said. “My heart has been heavy about this. I knew I would get this phone call.”

Feasel’s addiction to drugs spurred a criminal record stretching through the past 12 years.

In San Mateo County, Feasel had three convictions from 1997 — two for misdemeanor domestic violence and one for misdemeanor hit and run. He served 30 days on the first domestic violence charge and a year in San Mateo County Jail on the second, Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said.

In San Francisco, Feasel had been arrested four other times in the past two years on suspicion of possession of crack-cocaine and misdemeanor shoplifting. Those charges were dismissed, Assistant District Attorney Brian Buckelew said.

One week before his body was discovered, a San Francisco judge sentenced Feasel to three years of probation for a second-degree
burglary conviction. He had been in jail since his May 30 arrest, Buckelew said.

Investigation aims to uncover circumstances of man’s death

The circumstances surrounding the death of a San Francisco man found in the back of a Muni bus last weekend remain something of a mystery to authorities.

Police were reviewing surveillance footage to determine whether the body of 37-year-old Christopher Feasel went unnoticed on the bus during the evening commute or if Feasel broke into the secured Muni yard at 949 Presidio Ave. and died aboard the parked vehicle.

Drivers are expected to walk through and check a vehicle at the end of their shift, Muni spokesman Judson True said.

Transit officials have interviewed the driver of the 5-Fulton bus where Feasel was found, he said.

Whether the driver conducted a walk-through of the bus will be determined by an ongoing Police Department investigation, True said.

tbarak@sfexaminer.com

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