charney.jpgA bicyclist accused of fatally striking a pedestrian in San Francisco in July pleaded not guilty today to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges.

Randolph Ang, 23, was riding his bike at about 8:30 a.m. on July 15 when he allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Mission Street and The Embarcadero and struck 68-year-old Dionette Cherney, police and prosecutors said.

The collision caused Cherney to fall and hit the back of her head.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died on Aug. 11.

Ang was cited at the scene and released, but was charged in the case on Nov. 10 after prosecutors received the final medical examiner’s report on the accident.

He returned to court today to be arraigned on the manslaughter charge and pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Sarah Hawkins had asked for Ang to be held on $15,000 bail, but the judge declined to take him into custody, saying he was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Ang’s attorney, Tony Brass, said outside of court that “there’s no question this is a tragic accident, and no one feels that more than my client.”

Brass said Ang had recently graduated from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and had gotten his first job as an assistant media planner at a marketing company along The Embarcadero, and was just trying to get to work on time.

“He feels terrible about what happened to this woman,” Brass said.

District Attorney George Gascon said outside of court this morning that the case “really illustrates a problem we’re having in our city” with “careless behavior” by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Gascon said that although Ang was a “young man with no criminal record … we have to hold people accountable and send the message that a red light means stop.”

Brass also acknowledged that the case highlights a hot-button issue in San Francisco because “most people are annoyed at how bicyclists ride around the city.”

But he said the case is unique because the chance of a bicyclist killing a pedestrian “is very slim.”

Ang faces up to a year in county jail if he is convicted. The case will return to court on Dec. 13 for a pretrial conference.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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  • sweetauntie

    I’m sorry, but it makes me sick to my stomach that this young man’s attorney used the phrase “He was just trying to get to work” to somehow, someway mitigate this awful and selfish tragedy. As if offering up the “trying to get to work, he’s a responsible young man” drivle is in anyway shape or form going to justify the fact that this young man broke the law and it resulted in the death of another human being. Yes, I’m sure Mr. Ang is remorseful, but negligent actions can and do have tragic results.

  • sweetauntie

    I’m sorry, but it makes me sick to my stomach that this young man’s attorney used the phrase “He was just trying to get to work” to somehow, someway mitigate this awful and selfish tragedy. As if offering up the “trying to get to work, he’s a responsible young man” drivle is in anyway shape or form going to justify the fact that this young man broke the law and it resulted in the death of another human being. Yes, I’m sure Mr. Ang is remorseful, but negligent actions can and do have tragic results.

  • northbeachperson

    Mr. Ang deliberately and willfully ran a red traffic light.

    Being late for work is not a valid excuse to negligently cause the death of another person – to suggest otherwise is repugnant.

    I’m offended that this crime is only being prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

  • northbeachperson

    Mr. Ang deliberately and willfully ran a red traffic light.

    Being late for work is not a valid excuse to negligently cause the death of another person – to suggest otherwise is repugnant.

    I’m offended that this crime is only being prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

  • sfalew

    Bicyclists ignore traffic rules all the time. Drivers and walkers have to be very wary of them at intersections. They are supposed to stop at stop signs and obey traffic lights. They continually put themselves and others at risk. Having witnessed the dying of a cyclist hit by a bus he had cut in front of brought it home to me. If cyclists won’t obey the law, then there must be consequences — to protect even themselves. A woman died; Ang should be prosecuted fully.

  • sfalew

    Bicyclists ignore traffic rules all the time. Drivers and walkers have to be very wary of them at intersections. They are supposed to stop at stop signs and obey traffic lights. They continually put themselves and others at risk. Having witnessed the dying of a cyclist hit by a bus he had cut in front of brought it home to me. If cyclists won’t obey the law, then there must be consequences — to protect even themselves. A woman died; Ang should be prosecuted fully.

  • John Murphy

    @northbeachperson – the young woman who was speeding and texting and driving in Santa Rosa was similarly selfish when she ran over a 2 year old child, killing the child and severely injuring the child’s Mother. She was prosecuted for misdemeanor vehicular assault and given 5 days in jail, Mr. Ang will prosecuted fully and thus receive similar treatment as the woman in Santa Rosa, a couple of days in jail, probation, and community service (she did not even lose her license). He wasn’t drunk, and didn’t hit and run, so that is what the law calls for.

    Where have your sensibility been for all the traffic deaths over the years?

    If you feel that the law is improper – please campaign to have the law changed. I’ll join in the chorus. And when that happens be sure that you are not one of the 41,000 people who kill someone in a traffic incident annually. Everyone cries when someone they don’t know gets killed, but says “It was only an accident” when they kill someone else – and collectively the decision has been made, kill someone with your bike or you car, get away with murder.

  • John Murphy

    @northbeachperson – the young woman who was speeding and texting and driving in Santa Rosa was similarly selfish when she ran over a 2 year old child, killing the child and severely injuring the child’s Mother. She was prosecuted for misdemeanor vehicular assault and given 5 days in jail, Mr. Ang will prosecuted fully and thus receive similar treatment as the woman in Santa Rosa, a couple of days in jail, probation, and community service (she did not even lose her license). He wasn’t drunk, and didn’t hit and run, so that is what the law calls for.

    Where have your sensibility been for all the traffic deaths over the years?

    If you feel that the law is improper – please campaign to have the law changed. I’ll join in the chorus. And when that happens be sure that you are not one of the 41,000 people who kill someone in a traffic incident annually. Everyone cries when someone they don’t know gets killed, but says “It was only an accident” when they kill someone else – and collectively the decision has been made, kill someone with your bike or you car, get away with murder.