San Francisco Bicyclist Charged With Vehicular Homicide

San Francisco prosecutors have brought relatively rare felony vehicular manslaughter charges against a bicyclist who allegedly hit and killed an elderly man, 71-year-old Sutchi Hui in a crosswalk. Chris Bucchere, 36, allegedly ran a red traffic light before hitting Hui who died later of his injuries. His trial could feature a highly inadvisable blog posting that he allegedly published after the fatal accident — bemoaning the loss of his helmet.

Bucchere was viewed as reckless in biking at high speed down Divisadero Street and then entering the intersection on a yellow light. Witnesses said that they saw him running both red and yellow lights before the accident. The tracker on his bike showed him going 35 miles per hour. That is actually ten mph over the posted speed limit for cars. His ride was also captured on security cameras — giving the prosecutors a remarkably strong evidentiary case with a variety of different forms of evidence from witnesses to his own speedometer to video.

To make matters worse, Bucchere reportedly appeared on the website of local bicycling group discussing the crash – never a good idea for a criminal defendant:

The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop. The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions…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.

He then reportedly dedicates the post to his now-broken helmet, the author wrote, “may she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider and live and ride on. Can I get an amen? Amen.” I have more of an “Oh God” than an “Amen” to offer. If Bucchere did write that entry, he rivals Jerry Sandusky in dumb public statements.

Beside the callous aspects of the posting, Bucchere seems to acknowledge that he was going too fast to control his bike or protect pedestrians. His sense of loss over his helmet may fade in time as he faces up to 16 months in prison.

Source: SF Gate

38 thoughts on “San Francisco Bicyclist Charged With Vehicular Homicide”

  1. There is the law of right of way, and the law of physics, where momentum is mass times velocity. Bicyclists and pedestrians who forget the second law can easily move from one legal system into another. Bicyclists who forget that 180 lbs-ish X 35mph = a lot of whammy, can easily cause injuries to others. There was an incident not long ago at White Rock Lake in Dallas, where a bicyclist struck and killed a jogger.

  2. Jonathan Hughes 1, June 19, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Punishing does not bring back the old man to this life. Why then punish him? It is pointless. The devils system is pointless. Jesus frees humans the devil ensnares, and holds humans in bondage.
    wooo hoooo the biker cult arises. can i get an amen …

    Reminds me of the comedic utterances of Never More.

    this preacher was preaching an intense, emotional sermon about going to heaven.

    he had masterfully worked the crowd, moving ever closer to his final thrust, his masterful pitch …

    the crowd, the audience, the laity was utterly enthralled by the lightening powered code words the evangelist masterfully blasted into the churchosphere …

    when suddenly, loudly, and with the utmost control, he TRUMPETED to the enthralled crowd, IF YOU WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN, STAND UP NOW!!!!!

    He gleefully perused the throng, the meme complex, and noted that everyone was standing, jumping, singing, and speaking in tongues …

    except for one young man in the front row …

    Something seized the preacher, and his head lurched, his eyes of fire lasering in on the young man.

    The preacher’s heart, body, and mind all expanded out till his veins were like a constricted garden hose, hungering for relief … til ….

    THUNDEROUSLY !!! he shook the room with the words “DON’T YOU WANT TO GO TO HEAVEN SON!!!?????

    The young man rocked back in his seat from the force and power of the thundering voice of the preacher …

    His throat dry with fear, his emotions intimidated by all the eyes focused like lasers on him ….

    He meekly said “yes sir preacher, it is just that I though you were getting up a load to go right now.”

  3. Punishing does not bring back the old man to this life. Why then punish him? It is pointless. The devils system is pointless. Jesus frees humans the devil ensnares, and holds humans in bondage.

  4. Fruit little helmets, fruit outfits, stupid to ride on country roads with no shoulder.

  5. rhmgroo,

    Nothing to laugh at here.

    Sounds like the cyclist contributed to the accident: the middle of the road isn’t his lane; head down with head phones impedes paying attention to traffic. He seems to have contributed to his own injuries as well by not wearing a helmet.

  6. My good friend was driving down a road when a cyclist came at speed, down the middle of the road, with no helmet and head phones in and with his head down. Said cyclist ploughed into my friend’s car head first, came through the windscreen, and wrote off his car. This was on a residential street with cars parked both sides so my friend was doing about 20mph. The cyclist came from nowhere and he had no time to avoid him (and no where to go anyway, with cars both sides).

    The insurance company settled as completely no fault and paid out in full to my friend, who did NOT get full value for his car and has had to downgrade (as he needs a car for the business).

    He has now received a solicitors letter from the cyclist claiming damages for the crash, INCLUDING the cost of the clothes he was wearing!!

    The assumption that they have complete right of way, and just because they are more vulnerable, they can presume everyone else has to avoid them, appears to have come to this side of the Atlantic.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or get angry 🙂

    1. “when a cyclist came at speed, down the middle of the road, with no helmet and head phones”

      I hope I don’t offend any cyclists here but to ride in traffic wearing headphones seems idiotic to me. Right up there with the motorcyclists that pass me doing 100mph on I-95 wearing T Shirts and no helmet.

  7. Dangerous cyclists in general are an issue in San Francisco. The terrain encourages it.

  8. His ride was also captured on security cameras — giving the prosecutors a remarkably strong evidentiary case with a variety of different forms of evidence from witnesses to his own speedometer to video.
    Brings to mind, what with all the new public cameras and such….who will be policing the police? And the courts? And the politicians? And the powerful? When they screw up who holds them accountable?

    This guy is amazing…saw a river of blood and it wasn’t his….so he left?
    But he saw there would be a collision, laid down the bike and that is actually (at 35mph on pavement) a potentially self-injurious act.

    Our system is so broken the wisest thing anyone could actually do is to run away….go ahead, throw a stone…..

  9. I am a cyclist and I am completely in line with the philosophy that drivers of motor vehicles need to share the road with us. However, there are some cyclists who, while they believe they have the right to share the road, believe that the traffic laws are for motor vehicles only, not for them. I’ve seen them do things like run red lights regularly, which to my mind is a good way to end up dead.

    I’m a pedestrian and a user of public transportation, too. There have been times when I’ve been freaked out by cyclists riding on the sidewalks in my neighborhood who might have struck me while I was standing at the stop waiting for the bus if I’d had the bad luck to move just a foot or so in the wrong direction while they were biking by. They don’t announce their imminent presence, and I have no warning of their approach if I’m not facing in their direction, so silent are their wheels.

    This cyclist sounds both irresponsible (riding too fast to stop if the light changed) and downright oblivious to the reality of what he did. He’s cracking jokes about his poor sacrificed helmet when he hit–and ultimately ended up killing–somebody? Maybe he didn’t know at the time that the person would die, but he knew he hit someone, and you just don’t make jokes like that after you hit someone. Sheesh.

    I try to tell myself he just wasn’t able emotionally to accept the import of it all and that that’s why he made such a stupid joke, but I guess I’m just really tired of people indulging in tasteless humor as a way to avoid the reality of death, and it’s really tacky when they’re responsible for the death in question.

    Maybe motor vehicles have a greater likelihood of killing people, but as cyclists we, too, need to do our part to control how we behave on our form of transportation. We can’t have it both ways. We can’t complain about being treated like kids with toys and not being permitted to share the road if our defense when we cause an accident is going to be one that makes us look like we believe ourselves to just be cute little kids playing with toys who never meant anyone any harm. “Gee golly, I hope you’re OK, but man, you should see my poor helmet! I mean, it DIED to save me! Ha ha!”

  10. Like Frankly, I am an avid biker, but we are supposed to follow the rules of the road at all times. The hard part I have is that many drivers don’t seem to realize that I am supposed to ride in the street and not the sidewalk as some have suggested to me angrily! This rider was reckless and arrogant and deserves whatever sentence is handed down.

  11. Leaving the scene of an accident is hit-and-run. If there are injuries, it’s a felony. That he saw a “river of blood” means he KNOWS there were injuries, at least, involved. I hope he gets charged with the obvious speeding and felony hit-and-run charges, in case he gets off on the vehicular homicide.

    He wasn’t running a red light, though. It’s legal in California to enter an intersection on the yellow, even if it turns red before you’re out.

  12. The organized bikers are masters of special pleading which alientes even many bicycling enthusiasts. An op-ed arguing against hement laws for bikers recently has gtten a lot of circulation on urbanist blogs.

  13. I snort every time I read about bicyclists complain about motorists. San Diego has lots of bike lanes, and bikers virtually never use them. They ride on or just outside the line delimiting the lane, and they ride two and three abreast. Their answer to the first is that the city doesn’t keep the lanes clean and that there are rocks in the lanes. Perhaps so, but there are cars weighing a couple tons and moving at 40 mph outside the lines!

    If they are inside the lane I don’t need to give them room, and if they are outside the lane I don’t bother to, because they are idiots. If they want me to do my part, they have to do their part.

  14. My tendency is to believe that in many instances accidental killings tend to be “overcharged” and that jail punishment can at times be uncalled for. However, this appears an instance of callous indifference to anyone’s rights but the driver’s own. Punishment in the form of a jail sentence does seems justified in this case.

  15. In a number of states bikes are required to follow the same rules of the road as automobiles…… The charges seem apt…..

  16. There is a percentage of the population that are sociopaths. I don’t know what that number is but you run into them walking, riding bikes and driving cars. Sociopaths are not capable of seeing the world through the eyes of anyone but themselves and it affects how they walk, how they bike and how they drive.

    I used to bike commute to work every day until a job change made the commute 40 miles. I enjoyed those trips a lot. But during that time I had to occupationally deal with pedestrians who disobeyed the law & endangered me. Cars? Bah, dodging drivers who ignored the law and common sense to try and kill me was a near daily adventure. At the same time I saw enough bicycling sociopaths to know they can be a problem too. But people love to hate on bikers.

    Just this weekend I had to slam on the breaks to keep from hitting a biker that blew a stop sign in front of me. He yelled at me! Almost enough to make me wish I hadn’t stopped in time.

  17. All this amid the reality of a city with an incredibly powerful and, some might say, rabid bicycle lobby. Using public transportation and even walking are viewed with contempt by some cyclists. As a pedestrian I\’ve had to yield in designated crosswalks to trains of bicycle traffic that would not stop even as cars had. The police precinct captain threatened to crack down around a public park, then spent weeks and incredible effort walking back his statement (no pun intended). There is clearly contempt for anyone operating an automobile. It would appear there is contempt for anyone not on two wheels.

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