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Bicyclist Faces Six-Year Sentence in Pedestrian Death

Monday, June 18, 2012 - 07:48 PM

A bicyclist who hit and killed an elderly pedestrian in a San Francisco crosswalk earlier this year has been charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.

Chris Bucchere, 36, faces up to six years in prison if found guilty of “gross negligence” in the death of 71-year-old Sutchi Hui.

Charges stem from an incident on March 29 in which Bucchere allegedly ran a red light, hitting Hui as he was crossing the street in the city’s Castro District. Witnesses report seeing Bucchere run red lights and stop signs on his bicycle just before the accident. Hui died from his injuries on April 2.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announced the charges last week, saying “This tragic death caused by a bicyclist illustrates the worst case scenario when traffic laws are not obeyed.”

Bucchere’s lawyer said in a statement that his client believed “he entered the intersection lawfully and that he did everything possible to avoid the accident.”

On the day of the accident, someone identifying himself as Chris Bucchere posted on a local cycling blog, saying that “the light turned yellow as I approached the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop.” The post went on to say that he hoped Hui would be all right, and that the accident should serve as a reminder of how important it is to wear a helmet while riding. The post has since been taken down.

In a statement, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition said “We encourage people to resist drawing conclusions linking any one incident to impressions about all bicyclists’ behavior.”

Bucchere will be arraigned in San Francisco on Wednesday.

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Comments [8]

Howeman from United States

I have ridden all types of bicycles since childhood and for the last 25 + years have been mainly on mountain bicycles along with that being said, technology on braking has improved to disc brake system (not just Schwinn Stingrays - which I owned a Pea Picker that had rear disc brake, front drum while I was a teenager) Anyhow, I have come close to striking crosswalk pedestrians but, I've seemed to control my bike with either a swerve and or braking. Possibly this guy who struck the elderly gentleman was riding / operating a racing speed bike (10-20+ speed - Tour De France type) since the article states, bicyclist was observed not obeying traffic laws, to which is then his fault for not only traffic laws broke but, reckless bicycling, especially in the city full of pedestrians ...

Nov. 01 2013 11:08 AM
John

Chris Bucchere should get equal prosecution under the law.

Saratoga Hit And Run Driver Sentenced To Three Years In State Prison
June 18, 2012 - 5:01PM
Saratoga Business Man, Robert Schiro, was sentenced to 3 years of prison time by Judge Sharon Chatman for the hit and run accident that permanently injured cyclist Ashley Nelson. Ashley Nelson had already reached a settlement of $3 million dollars for her civil case. For more on this story visit Mercury News.

What does the SF Bicycle Coalition think?

""I think that a lot of bicyclists ride like jerks and idiots to be honest. Not all of them, but enough that it gives them a bad image," said Elias Zamaria from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition. "I try my best to avoid annoying or endangering anyone." Members of San Francisco's Bicycle Coalition said they weren't surprised by this case being regarded as a felony. "I hope it makes every cyclist out there think very soberly about his or her responsibilities on the road with regard to pedestrians. To me, the pedestrians are at the top of the chain," said Brian Neilson from the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition."

Jun. 21 2012 06:18 PM
John

What Chris Bucchere is said to have emailed to 1000 people and posted:

Dear Missionistas / Raiders of the Morning, Famiglia and Amigos,

I wrecked on the way home today from the bi-weekly Headlands Raid today. Short story: I'm fine. The pedestrian I clobbered? Not so much.

Long(er) story:

Around 8am I was descending Divisidero Street southbound and about to cross Market Street. The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop. The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions. The intersection very long and the width of Castro Street at that point is very short, so, in a nutshell, blammo.

The quote/unquote "scene of the crime" was that intersection right by the landmark Castro Theatre -- it leads from a really busy MUNI station to that little plaza where The Naked Guy always hangs out. It was commuter hour and it was crowded as all getup. I couldn't see a line through the crowd and I couldn't stop, so I laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find.

I don't remember the next five minutes but when I came to, I was in a neck brace being loaded into an ambulance. I remember seeing a RIVER of blood on the asphalt, but it wasn't mine. Apparently I hit a 71-year old male pedestrian and he ended up in the ICU with pretty serious head injuries. I really hope he ends up OK.

They asked me a bunch of stupid easy questions that I couldn't answer, so they kept me for a few hours for observation, gave me a tetanus shot and sent me on my way.

Anyway, other than a stiff neck, a sore jaw/TMJ, a few bruises and some raspberries, I'm totally fine. I got discharged from the hospital durning the lunch hour. The guy I hit was not as fortunate. I really hope he makes it.

The cops took my bike. Hopefully they'll give it back.

In closing, I want to dedicate this story to my late helmet. She died in heroic fashion today as my head slammed into the tarmac. Like the Secret Service would do for a president, she took some serious pavement today, cracking through-and-through in five places and getting completely mauled by the ragged asphalt. May she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on. Can I get an amen?

Amen.

The moral of this little story is: WYFH

Hoping you'll all keep the rubber side down,
Chris

Jun. 21 2012 06:08 PM
Jim

I think Bucchere is one of the worst offenders and should be prosecuted vigorously. As someone who used to ride a bike a lot when I was in better shape, I have sympathy for cyclists runnings stop signs and even red lights, when the speed is kept checked and care is being taken. Takes a lot of effort to stop and start on a bike. I would support a study to see if there might be some different codes for cyclists under certain conditions.

Jun. 19 2012 11:25 PM
tom

Let's all shut up. Any further comment will only spoil the jury pool. It is up to them to draw any conclusion, although, the biker could plea out.

Jun. 19 2012 01:53 PM
ctp

that's fine, j paul sank, but how many times a *day* do we read about "no criminality suspected" and no tickets issued when cagers kill or injure vulnerable road users? here's some just from the last day's news in one us city:

http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20120618/briarwood/eight-injured-one-seriously-queens-school-bus-crash

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/queens/biker_dies_ramming_into_car_n9e99lUXpaGXyKqg6mzOEM

sfbc is quite right to encourage us not to jump to conclusions, and perhaps wonder if this isn't scapegoating.

Jun. 19 2012 10:42 AM
J Paul Sank

I'm a bicylist myself, riding to work daily in Philadelphia, and I myself am really sickened by this. Unfortunately, running red lights *is* characteristic of *most* urban cyclists I see! Instead of trying to shield us from blame, as the Coalition does in this article, all cycling organizations should be making loud, visible, determined efforts to stop this awful stuff from happening. The sooner those organizations face the music, the safer the public will be. We cyclists *are* guilty. I, for one, would welcome a zero-tolerance policy, because the stakes are too high to tolerate the tremendous risks that are allowed today. I am utterly, deeply ashamed. Regardless of what the Coalition says, I see it on the ground: Bicyclists generally are scofflaws!

Jun. 18 2012 11:04 PM
Steve

Any road user who drives recklessly and endangers the lives of others should be punished. Period. It doesn't matter if you're a car who runs into a pedestrian legally crossing, a cyclist, or another pedestrian running down the street and doing a football tackle.

That being said, we all know the vast majority of pedestrians are injured by motorists and we should realize that as we focus on enforcement to end all road deaths.

Jun. 18 2012 09:55 PM

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