SAN FRANCISCO—A Marin County cyclist was sentenced on Thursday, August 15 for fatally striking a pedestrian at the intersection of Castro and Market Streets a year prior.
Chris Bucchere, 37, pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter on July 22 before being sentenced three years probation and 1,000 hours of community service on Thursday. His sentencing became part of a plea deal he agreed to with prosecutors, and the agreement means that Bucchere will avoid a jury trial, which could have led to incarceration.
On March 29, 2012, Bucchere reportedly biked down Castro Street at a fast speed, running past stop signs and multiple red lights before crashing into 71-year-old Sutchi Hui as the pedestrian crossed the intersection with his wife. Hui was immediately hospitalized at the time, and suffered numerous head injuries; he passed away four days later. His wife was unharmed.
The event stirred quite a controversy when news broke out about a blog post reportedly written by Bucchere while the cyclist was in the hospital. The blog from Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group illustrated his thoughts on the incident, and numerous critics and journalists singled out Bucchere’s post as testament to his inconsideration.
“I was already way too committed to stop,” he wrote. “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 remember seeing a RIVER of blood on the asphalt, but it wasn’t mine. I really hope he ends up OK.”
The plea bargain materialized as a result of the prosecutors’ and family’s behest. Prosecutors believed that a jail sentence seemed unlikely for Bucchere, and Hui’s family supported a non-imprisonment punishment. The conviction is the first of its kind in the nation, according to prosecutors. The judge has up to six months to decide on a reduction for Bucchere’s conviction to a misdemeanor.
“Please don’t squander the second chance you have to become a good and compassionate person,” Terry Hui, Sutchi’s son, said in a statement in court. “Not to be the narcissistic person you were when you wrote the insensitive Web posting about my father.”
By Alex Mazariegos