Chris Bucchere pleads out

Chris Bucchere is the guy who bombed through a San Francisco intersection and killed Sutchi Hui when the pedestrian stepped in front of him in the crosswalk. The Chron reports Bucchere pled guilty and is sentenced to 1000 hours of community service.

Bucchere maintains the light was yellow and entered the intersection legally when the light turned red and pedestrians stepping into the crosswalk before Bucchere had cleared the intersection. Area cyclists point out this is a common scenario for cars, but pedestrians are much more inclined to defer to the automobile and wait for the larger vehicle to pass by. About three pedestrians are hit by cars in San Francisco every day. About a quarter of traffic fatalities in the Bay Area are pedestrians, but drivers only rarely face criminal charges. Often, they don’t even receive a traffic ticket. Two pedestrians have been killed by cyclists in San Francisco in the past decade.

While San Francisco prosecutor George Gascon aggressively pursued this high profile case, Santa Clara Deputy District Attorney Cindy Hendrickson declined to prosecute Luis Felipe Hau in the injury collision of a 12 year old Palo Alto boy because that was just an accident, although Hau was allegedly piloting his death machine 10 MPH over the speed limit in spite of reduced visibility when he swerved into the bike lane and disabled Sebastian Lerrick.

Elsewhere: Ted @ Biking In LA feels somewhat conflicted about Bucchere’s sentence. He writes:

One thousand hours is a long time, and it gives him an opportunity to benefit society while serving as a warning to other riders.

But if a killer driver got off with just community service, we would be livid. At least, I would be.

Should we be any less so when the killer is one of us?

My first reaction was relief that Bucchere had been held accountable without suffering the heavy handed sentence that had been threatened. After all, he’s one of us, and it’s easy to imagine ourselves in that position.


  1. The sickening truth is that 1000 hours of community service is an unusually high penalty. A motorist in the same circumstance is usually not likely to face charges at all, certainly not felony charges.

  2. Let’s hope the 1,000 hours is spent cleaning a waste treatment plant, sewers, and picking up trash and dog poo. I fear that instead, SF will have him promote bicycling instead, exactly what he shouldn’t be doing.

  3. As an operator of ANY type of vehicle, you have basically ONE prime directive: DON’T HIT ANYTHING. People who fail this deserve to have their vehicular modes severely restricted. It doesn’t really matter if the pedestrians entered the crosswalk a little early; Bucchere still hit them. How BAD of a cyclist do you have to be to run into things that you can see coming?

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