Witness blames pace as biker charged with felony manslaughter

S.F. Examiner File PhotoLessons: The district attorney says people should view the felony bike death charge as a wake-up call.

S.F. Examiner File PhotoLessons: The district attorney says people should view the felony bike death charge as a wake-up call.

A bicyclist’s apparent need for speed landed him a felony charge in connection with a fatal collision involving a pedestrian in the Castro district.

On March 29, Chris Bucchere, 36, rammed into 71-year-old Sutchi Hui at Castro and Market streets. Hui, who had been legally crossing the street, died days later.

After weeks of examining evidence and talking with witnesses, prosecutors on Thursday slapped Bucchere with a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter. The charge was elevated from a misdemeanor because Bucchere had allegedly violated multiple laws prior to the collision, which shows gross negligence, District Attorney George Gascón said.

Bucchere’s attorney, Ted Cassman, has said his client “entered the intersection lawfully” and that he did “everything possible to avoid the accident.”

The evidence proves otherwise, Gascón said.

Before the deadly crash, Bucchere was allegedly trying to beat his own speed record on a popular cycling route from Marin County to San Francisco. His riding partner that day is a key witness for the prosecution. The pal claims that, unlike Bucchere, he had waited for the light at the intersection where the collision occurred, Gascón said.

“We have someone who was riding with our offender who recognized the need to come to a stop,” he said.

A witness told police that Bucchere was blowing through stop signs and lights on Divisadero Street, and video surveillance footage from a camera at 17th and Market streets captured him making little to no effort to stop.

Police said a GPS locator on Bucchere’s bike shows he was riding faster than 35 mph in a 25 mph zone.

Prosecutors say their case does not heavily rely on an online comment Bucchere might have written shortly after the collision. Someone using the name Chris Bucchere posted a message on a Mission Cycling forum about a collision.

“The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop,” the post said. The post did wish Hui well.

Hui’s death was both “predictable” and “avoidable,” said Gascón, adding that he hopes the case stands as an example to everyone using the roadways.

Last year, 17 pedestrians were killed and about 800 injured during collisions with vehicles in The City.

Bucchere is scheduled to be arraigned next week. He faces up to 6 years in prison if convicted.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCrimeCrime & CourtsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Folks wave from the side of a Muni cable car as it heads down Powell Street after cable car service returns from a 16-month COVID absence on Monday, Aug. 2, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
San Francisco’s cable cars return after 16-month absence

San Francisco’s cable cars are back, and they’re free for passengers to… Continue reading

Blue California often is the target of criticism by conservative media, but now is receiving critical attention from liberal writers. Pictured: The State Capitol. (Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters)
Why is California now being criticized from the left?

California being what it is – a very large state with a… Continue reading

Tiffany Carter, owner of Boug Cali West Coast Creole Shack in San Francisco’s La Cocina Marketplace, was dismayed by gentrification she found when she returned to her hometown to start a business. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF Black Wallstreet: Helping residents build wealth, reclaim spaces they’ve had to leave

Tiffany Carter moved back to her hometown of San Francisco five years… Continue reading

Steven Buss, left, and Sachin Agarwal co-founded Grow SF, which plans to produce election voter guides offering a moderate agenda. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Grow SF: New tech group aims to promote moderate ideals to political newcomers

Sachin Agarwal has lived in San Francisco for 15 years. But the… Continue reading

Most Read