The 37-year-old bicyclist who struck and killed a pedestrian at a busy Castro district intersection last year has pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter but will not serve time in jail, according to prosecutors.
The incident happened during the morning rush hour on March 29, 2012, when Chris Bucchere, a software engineer from Marin County, reportedly ran a red light at Castro and Market streets and plowed into Sutchi Hui, 71, of San Bruno, who was in the crosswalk. Hui died from head trauma four days after the collision.
Right before the incident, Bucchere — a former bike safety instructor — had broken numerous road rules at other intersections, according to prosecutors.
The incident led to what prosecutors are calling the first felony conviction of its kind. However, Bucchere's conviction could be reduced to a misdemeanor if he adheres to the terms of his sentence, which include 1,000 hours of community service and three years' probation. He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 16, prosecutors said.
Bucchere had claimed that he was in the intersection before the light turned red and also that pedestrians had entered the crosswalk too soon.
Bucchere was described by his attorney as a “good man” who called to check on Hui's health daily following the collision.
Right after the collision, Bucchere apparently wrote his version of what happened in a Mission Cycling AM Google group.
“Around 8 a.m. I was descending Divisadero Street southbound and about to cross Market Street. The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but 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 it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find.”
Bucchere acknowledged that he hit Hui and added, “I really hope he ends up OK.”
But Bucchere's post garnered criticism when it later dedicated the story to ” my late helmet,” which he said “died in heroic fashion” that day.