SF DA's office not charging suspects after dramatic Castro-area crash

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Friday July 28, 2023
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A car that was allegedly carjacked plummeted over the Sanchez Street stairs in the Castro July 22. Photo: Julia Brown's YouTube
A car that was allegedly carjacked plummeted over the Sanchez Street stairs in the Castro July 22. Photo: Julia Brown's YouTube

San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins' office is not charging the man and woman accused of a carjacking that led to a dramatic crash down the Sanchez Street stairs in the Castro last weekend.

But Jenkins' spokesperson Randy Quezada criticized media outlets for reporting charges were dropped because they've been discharged, but not dismissed, he told the Bay Area Reporter.

"It's a bit much," he said, when asked if it's accurate to say Jenkins dropped the charges. "I'm emailing everyone saying 'Hey, that's not exactly right' because it implies dismissal when what we've done is discharged because you have to do more investigation. When you dismiss something you drop it. That's not what happened here. There's a lot to this case — it's very complicated, it's not there yet. I get the click game some people are after. I'm telling people. It's frustrating."

Quezada said that more investigation is needed and witnesses are currently unavailable.

Kevin Nelson, 36, and Jennifer Bonham, 31, both of San Francisco, were arrested on suspicion of conspiracy, carjacking, and receiving a stolen vehicle, police stated in a news release July 26. Bonham was also arrested on suspicion of reckless driving.

Video of the crash shortly after 7 p.m. Saturday, July 22, had circulated on social media and television news. The arrests were made Tuesday. Nelson was treated for injuries at a local hospital; Bonham was transported to County Jail No. 1.

Both are now out of custody, according to jail records.

Police responded to the crash, at Sanchez and 19th streets, and "observed a vehicle that had rolled over and was resting on its hood," according to the release. A tree was knocked down and other damage was visible in the video. The car left the roadway at the dead-end of Cumberland Street above the stairs.

The pair had allegedly stolen the car at 19th and Dolores Streets just before the crash, police stated. Police also stated that the person whose car was allegedly carjacked approached them shortly after the incident.

"While on scene, officers were approached by a victim who identified himself as the owner of the vehicle involved in the collision," the release stated. "The victim stated that he was sitting in his vehicle near 19th Street and Dolores Street when he was approached by unknown suspects who carjacked his vehicle. The victim reported non-life-threatening injuries caused by the incident."

Quezada issued a statement July 28 that the charges were discharged.

"The charges against Ms. Bonham and Mr. Nelson have been discharged at this time pending further investigation and witness unavailability," Quezada's statement reads.

Jenkins has controversially opted not to charge, or drop charges entirely, in a number of high-profile cases in recent months, such as against the man who killed Banko Brown in April, a suspect in the rolling gun battle along the Embarcadero in June, and three police shootings charged under her predecessor, recalled DA Chesa Boudin.

Gay District 8 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman previously thanked the SFPD for the arrests on X (formerly Twitter). Mandelman told the B.A.R. July 29 that he hopes that the police and DA "will be able to bring those responsible to justice."

Anyone with information is asked to call the San Francisco Police Department Tip Line at 1-415-575-4444 or Text a Tip to TIP411 and begin the text message with SFPD. You may remain anonymous.

Updated, 8/2/23: This article has been updated with a comment from Supervisor Mandelman.

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