Monday, June 18, 2012
By Julie Caine
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.