Bicyclist First in U.S. Guilty of Vehicular Homicide

San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere hit and killed a 71-year-old.

July 24, 2013, 11:30 AM

July 24, 2013— -- A bicyclist who struck and killed a 71-year-old pedestrian in San Francisco has been convicted of felony manslaughter, the first conviction of its kind for a cyclist in the U.S.

Chris Bucchere, 37, was biking through a busy intersection when he struck and killed Sutchi Hui, who was crossing the street with his wife in down downtown San Francisco.

According to the district attorney's office, Bucchere had run through at least two stop signs without stopping on his way to the intersection where he crashed.

They also contend the light was already red by the time Bucchere went into the intersection and slammed into a group of people crossing the street, including Hui, said Stephanie Ong Stillman of the district attorney's office.

Bucchere's attorney, Ted Cassman, told the San Francisco Examiner that he believed the light was yellow.

Hui died four days later, in March 2012, Ong Stillman said.

Bucchere pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the vehicular manslaughter charge, a felony conviction that San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon said was the first time in history a bicyclist had been convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter.

"Our goal is to send a message to cyclists about safety," Gascon said Tuesday. "Just because you are riding a bicycle doesn't mean all bets are off. All of the rules of the road that apply to everyone else apply to you too."

Immediately following the 2012 accident Bucchere posted comments about the crash to an internet message board, Mission Cycling AM Riders, according to ABC News affiliate KGO.

"I was already way too committed to stop ... I couldn't see a line through the crowd and I couldn't stop so I laid down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find," Bucchere wrote. "I hope he ends up OK."

The post showed a lack of remorse for hitting Hui, Ong Stillman said.

"He posted that he was more upset that his helmet was broken than putting someone in the hospital," she said.

Bucchere agreed to a plea deal with the prosecutors where he will serve 1,000 hours of community service and three years of probation for the crime, according to the prosecutor's office.

Gascon said that Hui's family did not want jail time for Bucchere. Hui's family has filed a civil suit against Bucchere.

Bucchere will be sentenced on Aug. 16.

Bucchere's attorney did not return calls for comment.

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