A bicyclist has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of an elderly man. Chris Bucchere, age 36, has been charged with a felony for running into and killing 71-year-old Sutchi Hui with his bicycle in San Francisco.
The collision occurred on March 29, 2012 around 8 am. The incident was captured by security cameras and was witnessed by several people who later testified during the preliminary hearing.
Bucchere’s defense attorney Ted Cassman argued that his client should be charged with a misdemeanor, not a felony, as the collision was an accident. Cassman contends that as a bicycle safety instructor, his client would not have violated any safety or traffic rules as he was riding through town.
The defense attorney argued that the surveillance footage proves his client did not pass through the intersection until the light had turned green. Additionally, Cassman contends that several pedestrians, including Mr. Hui, walked into the street before checking for traffic.
Prosecutors argued that if Bucchere had exercised caution he would not have hit and killed Mr. Hui with his bicycle. As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Prosecutors noted that the surveillance footage proves Bucchere was traveling at a high rate of speed and that his negligence led to the fatal accident. Additionally, three witnesses testified that the defendant was indeed racing through the area and ignored a stop light before he crashed into Mr. Hui.
Judge Andrew Y.S Chang sided with prosecutors during the preliminary hearing last week. Judge Chang affirmed that the bicyclist will be charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.
As reported by the San Fransisco Examiner, the judge expressed his preference that the prosecution and defense settle the case out of court. If the case goes to trial and Bucchere is convicted he could spend up to eight years in jail.
Although the bicyclist was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter, if the prosecution and defense can reach a plea agreement the charge could be reduced to a misdemeanor with a much lighter sentence.
[Image via Wikimedia]