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San Francisco Cyclist Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter

By Karen Gullo – Jul 23, 2013 3:12 PM ET

San Francisco bicyclist Christopher Bucchere pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter for striking and killing a 71-year-old man last year and will avoid jail time, the local district attorney said.

The conviction is the first of its kind in the nation involving a cyclist, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in an e-mailed statement. Bucchere, 37, a Stanford University-educated technology consultant who once rode for the school’s cycling team, will be sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service and three years’ probation, Gascon said.

“With the conditions of this plea, the defendant will be held accountable for the tragic death of Sutchi Hui and will have an opportunity for redemption,” said Gascon. “We hope this case continues to serve as a reminder that blatant disregard of the traffic laws can have dire consequences.”

Evidence presented at a March court hearing in the city’s case against Bucchere showed he was going 32 miles in a 25-mile-an-hour zone and ran three red lights before striking and killing Hui, who was in a pedestrian crosswalk on Market Street in San Francisco’s Castro district at 8 a.m. with his wife en route to a medical appointment.

Bucchere, a lifelong cyclist who trains others in bike safety, was completing a two-hour ride to Marin County with a friend, following a course taken by members of a local cycling club, when he hit Hui on March 29, 2012.

Strava Inc., a website for cyclists that logs athletes’ data from wireless devices, recorded Bucchere going 32 miles an hour at the time of the crash, prosecutors said.

Ted Cassman, Bucchere’s attorney, in March denied his client ran lights and said the Strava data was inaccurate. Cassman didn’t immediately return a voice-mail message seeking comment on the plea.

The case is California v. Bucchere, 12015554, California Superior Court, San Francisco County (San Francisco).