A bicyclist accused of fatally striking a pedestrian in San Francisco’s Castro District in March pleaded not guilty today to a felony vehicular manslaughter charge.
Chris Bucchere, 36, struck 71-year-old Sutchi Hui at Market and Castro streets shortly before 8:10 a.m. on March 29, according to police.
Bucchere, who was riding south on Castro Street, struck Hui as he walked east in a crosswalk with a green light, police said. Hui died at a hospital days later.
The goateed Bucchere, who wore a blazer and slacks in court, did not speak to reporters after his brief arraignment hearing this afternoon, but his attorneys issued a statement on his behalf.
“Chris anticipates the day when he may express his deepest condolences to the Hui family for their tragic loss. But for now, while the case is ongoing, he will continue to cooperate with the authorities and to respond responsibly to the charges in court,” the statement read.
District Attorney George Gascon filed the charges last week, saying that Bucchere was facing a felony rather than a misdemeanor charge because witnesses reported that he committed “a pattern of vehicle code violations” prior to the collision, including running red lights and stop signs at other intersections.
Gascon said that, according to surveillance video footage obtained by prosecutors, it did not appear that Bucchere tried to brake before striking Hui.
The case gained further attention when it was revealed that on the day of the collision, someone using the name Chris Bucchere wrote about the accident on an online cycling forum.
In the post, Bucchere expressed hope that Hui was OK, but ended by saying the moral of the story was the importance of wearing a helmet, which elicited criticism from other forum members. The post has since been taken off the site.
Bucchere surrendered to police on Thursday after the charges were filed, but has since posted $150,000 bail and is out of custody, prosecutors said.
He will return to court on July 27 to set a date for the preliminary hearing.
Dan McMenamin, Bay City News