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S.F. bicyclist to be tried for gross vehicular manslaughter

A bicyclist who killed an elderly pedestrian while racing through a busy San Francisco intersection nearly a year ago, igniting debate about who owns open space in the famously congested city, will be tried for felony gross vehicular manslaughter.

Superior Court Judge Andrew Y.S. Cheng ruled Thursday that Chris Bucchere, 36, should face the felony charge, believed to be a rarity for a bicycle collision that resulted in a death.

If convicted, Bucchere could face a maximum of six years in prison.

Sutchi Hui, a 71-year-old San Francisco resident, was walking with his wife through the busy intersection of Castro and Market streets when he was hit by Bucchere in March 2012. He died of his injuries four days later at San Francisco General Hospital.

Ted Cassman, Bucchere's attorney, argued during the preliminary hearing that the charge should be reduced to a misdemeanor. He could not be reached for comment on the judge's ruling.

"Court testimony indicated that [Bucchere] was going at least 30 mph and that he ran two red lights and a stop sign prior to going through the intersection where the collision occurred," said San Francisco Assistant Dist. Atty. Alex Bastian, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office.

"Today the judge reaffirmed our decision to charge this case as a felony," said Dist. Atty. George Gascon. "I hope this case serves as a reminder to all that there are life-altering consequences to not following the rules of the road."

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-- Maria L. LaGanga in San Francisco

 
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