Chris Bucchere, the guy who brazenly "plowed through" a crowded crosswalk at Castro and Market one morning last year and ended up killing a 71-year-old man in the process, has plead guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter. But he won't be doing jail time for the offense, which is the first conviction of its kind in San Francisco. Instead, as part of a plea agreement, he'll do 1,000 hours of community service, and the judge may even reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor within six months if Bucchere complies with all the terms.
This isn't quite the loud and clear message for bicycle safety that many wanted in the wake of the death of Sutchi Hui, who was trying to cross Castro Street with his wife at the time of the incident in April 2012. Hui's wife was unharmed, and according to the Chron the family is in agreement with the terms of the plea bargain.
Much of the anger following the accident came when Bucchere's own apparent comments, since deleted, were soon posted to the Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group. In those comments he admitted to being "too committed to stop" as he entered the intersection, and said he tried to "lay down" his bike, or purposely crash, in order to avoid hitting people. However, there was evidence to suggest that Bucchere was actually in a fictional race and trying to time himself on a regular morning bike route over the Golden Gate Bridge, and therefore was less inclined to stop. Also, a prosecution witness, Nathan Pollak, testified that he had seen Bucchere blow through several red lights just prior to the accident. Another witness says Bucchere was going "incredibly fast" through the intersection, and traffic video showed him making no effort to "lay it down" as he claimed.
As of March, prosecutors announced they were seeking a manslaughter conviction against Bucchere, and his attorney was arguing for nothing greater than a misdemeanor. In the previous, similar case of Randolph Ang, who was tried for the 2011 death of 68-year-old tourist Dionette 'Didi' Cherney, Ang was convicted of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter and also avoided jail time.