Cyclist accused of killing pedestrian pleads not guilty

A bicyclist accused of fatally striking a pedestrian in San Francisco in July pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges.

Randolph Ang, 23, was riding his bike at about 8:30 a.m. on July 15 when he allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Mission Street and The Embarcadero and struck 68-year-old Dionette Cherney, police and prosecutors said.

The collision caused Cherney to fall and hit the back of her head. She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died on Aug. 11.

Ang was cited at the scene and released, but was charged in the case on Nov. 10 after prosecutors received the final medical examiner's report on the accident.

He returned to court Wednesay to be arraigned on the manslaughter charge and pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Sarah Hawkins had asked for Ang to be held on $15,000 bail, but the judge declined to take him into custody, saying he was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Ang's attorney, Tony Brass, said outside of court that “there's no question this is a tragic accident, and no one feels that more than my client.”

Brass said Ang had recently graduated from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and had gotten his first job as an assistant media planner at a marketing company along The Embarcadero, and was just trying to get to work on time.

“He feels terrible about what happened to this woman,” Brass said.

District Attorney George Gascon said outside of court Wednesday morning that the case “really illustrates a problem we're having in our city” with “careless behavior” by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Gascon said that although Ang was a “young man with no criminal record … we have to hold people accountable and send the message that a red light means stop.”

Brass also acknowledged that the case highlights a hot-button issue in San Francisco because “most people are annoyed at how bicyclists ride around The City.”

But he said the case is unique because the chance of a bicyclist killing a pedestrian “is very slim.”

Ang faces up to a year in county jail if he is convicted. The case will return to court on Dec. 13 for a pretrial conference.

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