Deadly crash near SF's Lake Merced followed a lifetime of crimes

Two months before Jerry Lyons was accused of plowing a stolen truck into eight cars on Thursday, killing a pedestrian and injuring three others, he was arrested in San Francisco for a remarkably similar crime – only it didn’t result in any deaths or injuries.

The Dec. 3 arrest was just one of scores of previous cases in San Francisco and San Mateo counties spanning the 31-year-old’s entire adult life.

It began around 2:15 a.m. when a California Highway Patrol officer at Alemany Boulevard and Sickles Avenue watched a driver run a red light, stop in the intersection, pull an illegal U-turn, drive over a traffic median and begin weaving between two lanes, officials said.

The officer discovered the vehicle was stolen, pulled it over and arrested Lyons at the scene. He was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and driving a stolen vehicle without a license. At the time he was on supervised release for a theft case.

The district attorney’s office said Lyons was sentenced to a 60-day jail term for violating his supervised release. Prosecutors, though, requested blood toxicology results before filing new charges.

When the results came back on Jan. 22 -- after Lyons was back on the street -- a spokeswoman for the office said "We began working with CHP to pursue a DUI charge and awaited his arrest."

But unfortunately, Lyons wasn’t arrested before allegedly barreling through a red light at another San Francisco intersection -- this time with deadly results.

Shortly before 8 a.m. Thursday, police said Lyons slammed into multiple vehicles at Lake Merced Boulevard and Higuera Avenue, killing a pedestrian and injuring three others

The pedestrian, identified by his wife and former co-workers as 26-year-old Sheria Musyoka, was pronounced dead at the scene. Musyoka was the father of a 3-year-old son.

The district attorney's office released a statement Thursday saying "Our hearts go out to the family of the victim, who tragically lost his life today.  We can only imagine the devastation for the victim’s family, and promise to dedicate whatever resources are necessary to this case.  We cannot bring closure but we will pursue justice."

Musoka’s former employer, Larkspur-based Akili Interactive Labs, sent KTVU a statement.

"Even in his short time with us, he had a huge impact and is fondly remembered for his gentle kind spirit and quiet brilliance. Our hearts go out to his family during this incredibly difficult time." 

Three other victims, two women and a man, were hospitalized and expected to survive.

Lyons was booked Thursday night on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence, and other charges. The incident was the violent cap to the suspect’s more than decade-long rap sheet.

Before the December arrest, records show Lyons was arrested in October in San Francisco on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property and drug charges. It’s unclear if the district attorney’s office took any action on the case.

Lyons had six other cases in San Francisco dating back to 2007. They include charges of attempted robbery, burglary, evading police, driving a stolen vehicle, weapons charges, and others.

In San Mateo County, Lyons has faced more than 20 charges, including shoplifting, trespassing and drug charges. He was charged with driving under the influence on Jan 5. between when he was released from San Francisco Jail and Thursday’s deadly episode.

Evan Sernoffsky is an investigative reporter for KTVU. Email Evan at and follow him on Twitter @EvanSernoffsky.