Bicyclist faces felony vehicular manslaughter case in pedestrian’s death
Posted Mar 8, 2013 3:57 PM CST
By Martha Neil
A bicyclist who reportedly struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco last year had sought, through his lawyer, to be tried on a misdemeanor charge.
But a judge ruled Thursday that Chris Bucchere will face a felony vehicular manslaughter case, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The prosecution and the defense disagree about key facts in the superior court case, including whether a traffic light was red when Bucchere entered the intersection and hit 71-year-old Sutchi Hui, or whether it was Hui who entered the crosswalk before the walk sign was illuminated during morning rush hour March 29.
Witnesses for the prosecution testified at a preliminary hearing this week that they had seen Bucchere speed through stop signs and red lights before he got to the scene of the fatal accident, at Castro and Market streets. He did not appear to slow down before the crash, according to testimony.
However, the defense said Bucchere had the right of way, pointing to surveillance photo footage that the newspaper says is not crystal clear. His lawyer, Ted Cassman, also emphasized his client's clean driving record and experience teaching bicycle safety classes.
Judge Andrew Cheng said he hope the parties can reach an agreement before Bucchere's scheduled March 21 arraignment.