A bicyclist who allegedly fatally struck a pedestrian in San Francisco’s Castro District last week is “devastated by the accident” but believes he entered the intersection lawfully, his attorney said today.
Chris Bucchere allegedly struck 71-year-old Sutchi Hui at Market and Castro streets shortly before 8:10 a.m. on March 29. Witnesses reported that Bucchere, who was traveling south on Castro Street, might have run a red light before striking Hui, according to police.
Hui, who was walking east in the crosswalk at the time of the collision, died Tuesday in the hospital, police said.
Attorney Ted Cassman said Bucchere, who was also injured in the accident, gave a statement to police while he was still in the hospital and is cooperating fully with their investigation.
“Chris believes he entered the intersection lawfully and that he did everything possible to avoid the accident,” said Cassman. “His heart goes out to Mr. Hui’s wife and family for their loss.”
The medical examiner’s office has not yet determined the cause of Hui’s death and no charges have been filed against Bucchere pending the outcome of an investigation, according to police and prosecutors.
Later on the day of the collision, someone using the name Chris Bucchere posted a message about the accident on an online forum for Mission Cycling, a local cycling group.
“The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop,” the post stated.
“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,” it continued.
“I really hope [Hui] ends up OK,” he wrote.
However, he wrote that the moral of the story of his collision was the importance of wearing a helmet, eliciting critical comments from other members of the forum.
Following reports about Bucchere’s online comments, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition officials released a statement saying that they were “deeply troubled” by the account of the incident.
Leah Shahum, the coalition’s executive director, said the growing number of people riding bicycles in San Francisco “must follow the rules of the road.”
“As advocates working for safer streets, we condemn reckless behavior–whether on a bicycle or in a car,” Shahum said. “Those who put others in danger should be held accountable for their actions.”
Mission Cycling also posted a statement Thursday on its website, noting that Bucchere is not a member of the group and was riding alone at the time of the crash.
“We were shocked to learn not only that this accident occurred but also by the rider’s response to it in the post,” the statement said. “His reckless riding on that day is completely antithetical to the way we go about our sport.”
The posts on the forum have since been hidden from public view. Bucchere’s Twitter and LinkedIn accounts were also deleted this week, although a CrunchBase profile remains listing him as an entrepreneur, software developer and founder and CEO of Social Collective, Inc.
The district attorney’s office is aware of the forum posts and is working with police on the investigation, according to spokeswoman Stephanie Ong Stillman.
“We take pedestrian traffic fatalities very seriously,” Stillman said. “There are many witnesses who have come forward, so there is a lot of evidence that we still need to review.”
The district attorney’s office recently wrapped up a similar case involving a bicyclist who fatally struck a pedestrian.
Randolph Ang pleaded guilty last month to vehicular manslaughter after running a red light and striking a 68-year-old woman at the intersection of Mission Street and The Embarcadero on July 15, 2011.
The woman, Dionette “Didi” Cherney, later died at a hospital.
Ang, 23, was sentenced to three years’ probation, as well as 500 hours of community service and was ordered to pay restitution to Cherney’s family.
Sara Gaiser/Dan McMenamin, Bay City News