A mother in Japan has honored the memory of her daughter who lost her life in a hit-and-run incident in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood on New Year’s Eve.
Background: Hanako Abe, 27, and Elizabeth Platt, 60, were crossing the intersection of Second and Mission streets when a gray Honda HR-V struck them on Dec. 31. The driver, identified as Troy McAlister, allegedly ran a red light in the stolen car and tried to flee the scene.
- Authorities recovered a semiautomatic handgun with an extended “high-capacity magazine” and 23 grams (0.81 ounces) of methamphetamine in the stolen car. Two days before the collision, the vehicle’s owner identified McAlister to the Daly City Police Department.
- McAlister, a multiple felon, was reportedly out on parole for a 2015 armed robbery. He was released in April 2020, about two months after the discontinuation of California’s Three Strikes law, which would have made him eligible for a life sentence.
- Since his release, McAlister was arrested five more times, as per KPIX 5 — in June (for burglary and possession of burglary tools), August (for car theft and possession of stolen property), October (for another car theft and possession of meth), November (for a car burglary) and December (for possession of a stolen car, stolen property and burglary tools) — but never went back to jail. Just before the hit-and-run, he also allegedly stole a cash register and a laptop from a vegan sandwich shop, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
- McAlister is facing multiple charges in connection to the crash, including two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter. He pleaded not guilty to all of the charges, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Beloved daughter remembered: Abe’s mother honored her memory in a tweet on Friday, the first day of the Obon Festival, a Japanese Buddhist custom that commemorates one’s ancestors. She set up an altar and placed a framed photo of her daughter in the middle.
- “It’s the first Obon Festival since Hanako’s death. I lit a fire so that her soul could reach her house without hesitation,” the grieving mother wrote. “I am looking forward to lighting the lanterns. I really want to meet Hanako!”
- The San Francisco Police Officers Association (SFPOA) soon took notice of Abe’s mother’s tweet. The union called out District Attorney Chesa Boudin, who appeared on behalf of McAlister as a deputy public defender in 2018, subsequently ordered the discontinuation of Three Strikes cases in San Francisco and failed to file charges against McAlister the five times he was arrested prior to the incident.
- “There’s no pain like the pain felt by a mother losing her child. Hanako Abe was killed just eight months ago by a man who should’ve been in jail,” the SFPOA said in part.
- Abe’s family filed a wrongful death claim against San Francisco in June, according to KGO. Her mother has also commented on crimes in the city. “I am saddened by the number of crimes in San Francisco. It is a big mistake not to be punished and to be a person who is not ashamed of committing a crime,” she wrote in an earlier tweet.