A driver accused of killing two women in downtown San Francisco on New Year’s Eve while intoxicated and in a stolen car was a paroled robber who remained free despite being arrested several times in recent months.
Troy McAlister, 45, was released from a state prison sentence for robbery in April and was not charged with new crimes by the District Attorney’s office after being arrested on suspicion of car theft in November and December, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
District Attorney Chesa Boudin said his office did not file new charges in the cases, choosing instead to refer each case to state parole agents, who can seek to imprison those who violate the terms of their release. He said parole officials have ‘more leverage’ than his office to keep a person in custody for nonviolent charges.
‘We referred these cases to parole because we believed there was a greater likelihood of him being held accountable and having the kind of intervention that would protect the public and break this cycle of recidivism,’ Boudin said.
Boudin later acknowledged to the Chronicle that it was ‘clearly a mistake to think parole supervision would be adequate.’
Troy McAlister (above), 45, was released from a state prison sentence for robbery in April
The fatal crash involving McAlister occurred on New Year’s Eve. Police said he had been driving a gray Honda that was reported stolen in Daly City 48 hours earlier when he struck and killed two pedestrians
Assisted by a witness, police were able to locate McAlister within minutes and detain him
District Attorney Chesa Boudin said his office did not file new charges in the cases, choosing instead to refer each case to state parole agents
The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which runs parole, pointed to prosecutors’ repeated decision not to file charges.
‘Our top priority is public safety and we will work with our local partners on this unfortunate incident,’ the department said in a statement Friday.
‘None of the parolee’s arrests following his 2020 release have yet to result in filings of criminal charges by the District Attorney. Our parole office followed all procedures after these incidents, including conducting investigations and making appropriate referrals for the individual.’
Under California law, people accused of violating parole can be given added restrictions, treatment or punishment by parole officers. They have a right to a hearing in front of a judge and, if their parole is revoked, can spend a maximum of 180 days behind bars.
Boudin said parole officers did not hold McAlister ‘for a single day’ after his most recent arrest on December 20, however it’s unclear what happened in McAlister’s other arrests in recent months.
Prosecutors deciding whether to file a new charge — rather than enter parole proceedings — may weigh the strength of the new case, as well as whether the defendant will be released by a judge while the case is pending, and the potential punishment from a conviction.
Boudin said his office will make changes to ensure that people on parole receive proper supervision and structure.
The fatal incident occured just after 4pm on New Year’s Day after McAlister sped through a red light
After the crash, McAlister reportedly got out of the vehicle and fled on foot to a nearby commercial building
Inside the car, police reportedly found a gun with an extended magazine (above) and drugs
The fatal crash involving McAlister occurred on New Year’s Eve. Police said he had been driving a gray Honda that was reported stolen in Daly City 48 hours earlier.
The parolee was speeding down Mission Street toward the Embarcadero at around 4pm when he ran a red light in the South of Market area and struck two women as they were crossing the street.
McAlister was arrested in July 2015 on suspicion of robbing a store in San Francisco at gunpoint
After the crash, McAlister reportedly got out of the vehicle and fled on foot to a nearby commercial building.
Assisted by a witness, police were able to locate McAlister within minutes and detain him.
Inside the stolen vehicle, police said they found a handgun with an extended magazine and suspected drugs.
McAlister was booked on a number of charges, including voluntary manslaughter, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, burglary, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving while addicted to drugs, possessing a gun and a large-capacity ammunition magazine, and violating the terms of parole.
One of the female pedestrians was pronounced dead at the scene, while the second victim died shortly after arriving at San Francisco General Hospital.
The medical examiner identified one of the victims as Elizabeth Platt, 60. The second was identified by her mother as Hanako Abe, 27, who moved to the city last year to work for a real estate company.
‘The whole family has a heart that is torn by sadness,’ Abe’s mother, Hiroko Abe, told KPIX. ‘You couldn’t find such a beloved daughter all over the world. She was our pride.’
The city’s police chief, Bill Scott, called the deaths a ‘senseless tragedy that shouldn’t have happened.’
‘We must all be held equally accountable for the decisions we make, because they can have serious implications for the safety of those we serve,’ he said.
One of the victims was identified by her mother as Hanako Abe (above), 27, who moved to the city last year to work for a real estate company
McAlister was booked on a number of charges, including voluntary manslaughter, DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, burglary, driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, driving while addicted to drugs, possessing a gun and a large-capacity ammunition magazine, and violating the terms of parole
According the Chronicle, McAlister was arrested in July 2015 on suspicion of robbing a store in San Francisco at gunpoint. Prior to that incident, he also had three other felony convictions, including one for robbery and another for attempted carjacking.
He had been on parole for nine months at the time of the crash, with his term set to end on November 15, 2022.
Just weeks ago, on November 6, McAlister was reportedly arrested by the San Francisco State University Police Department at a student housing complex on suspicion of auto burglary, possessing burglary tools and violating the terms of his parole.
Then on December 20, he was arrested elsewhere in the city on suspicion of car theft and possessing stolen property, methamphetamine, burglary tools and drug paraphernalia.
He has been arrested a number of other times in San Francisco since being paroled, however information on those arrests was not immediately available.
Boudin told the Chronicle that his office didn’t file new charges against McAlister in any of the cases because parole officers have ‘more leverage’.
He said parole workers have ‘much deeper knowledge of the individual and the challenges that are leading to that criminal behavior than my office is able to obtain.
‘[After each case] we evaluated the facts, the strength of the case and the charges, and decided it was more likely that he would be held accountable through parole.’
Boudin, however, pledged changes are incoming.
‘We will make changes to ensure that people on parole receive the supervision and structure needed from parole to prevent this kind of tragedy from recurring,’ He wrote in a Friday tweet.
‘This is a terrible tragedy and awful end to a brutal year. It is a system failure that resulted in irreversible harm to two families. My heart goes out to the families of the victims.’