Phil Matier: Elderly Advocates Upset Over Plea Deal In SF Fatal Bike Crash

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The bicycle that struck a pedestrian at The Embarcadero and Mission Street in San Francisco on July 15, 2011. (CBS)

The bicycle that struck a pedestrian at The Embarcadero and Mission Street in San Francisco on July 15, 2011. (CBS)

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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Advocates for seniors and pedestrians have criticized the plea deal involving a bicyclist charged with fatally hitting a woman in a crosswalk near San Francisco’s Ferry building last year.

Dionette “Didi” Cherney, 68, suffered serious head trauma when 23-year-old Randolph Ang ran a red light and struck her with his bicycle on July 15, 2011 at the intersection of Mission Street and The Embarcadero. Cherney, a grandmother who was visiting from Washington D.C., died about a month later due to brain injuries.

Ang pleaded guilty Monday to vehicular manslaughter, was sentenced him to three years’ probation and ordered to complete community service and pay $15,375 in restitution to Cherney’s family.

The case brings to light the interactions that drivers cyclists and pedestrians have on city streets every day, and this had the DA’s office wondering for months how it should be treated, whether the young man should be made an example of.

They were unsure if he should be charged with a felony, as pedestrian and elderly advocates were demanding, or with a misdemeanor. Because the family of the woman who was killed felt the cyclist shouldn’t go to jail, but should instead do community service, the DA went with a misdemeanor filing.

KCBS’ Phil Matier Comments:

With only 49 square miles in the city of San Francisco, cyclists, drivers and pedestrians often have trouble navigating the relatively small city without collisions and altercations. With all of the talk of mass transit, the number of cars has continued to increase in the city over the years.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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