New Zealand Bicyclist Testifies In Healdsburg Hit-And-Run Crash Case
SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — A bicycle racer from New Zealand testified in Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday morning about being struck by a car in a hit-and-run accident near Healdsburg last month.
Michael Torckler, 25, who was training with the Santa Rosa-based Bissell Pro Cycling team, testified in advance of an Aug. 30 preliminary hearing for Arthur Ben Yu, the driver of a 1996 Honda that allegedly struck him on Pine Flat Road on June 29.
Yu, 36, of Rohnert Park, is charged with hit-and-run, reckless driving, the theft of his father’s Honda, and possession of stolen property.
KCBS’ Jeffrey Schaub Reports:
Torckler testified Thursday because he was returning to New Zealand, where he lives, Deputy District Attorney Chris Honigsberg said.
Torckler said he rode his Pinarello bicycle to the top of Pine Flat Road, turned around and stopped about a half-mile from the top on his way down the rural, two-lane road to admire the view and catch his breath.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” Torckler said.
Torckler testified that he didn’t hear a car coming. He said he stopped on the right side of the road “as close to the edge as possible.”
He said his injuries included a broken left forearm, a fracture in his right hand, facial injuries, a torn ligament on his knee and injuries to his right foot and ankle. He said he suffered 20 fractures.
Although Torckler testified that he was stopped when he was hit, the California Highway Patrol’s initial report stated that Yu was driving north at 15-20 mph through a left curve and Torckler was riding his bike south through a right curve of the road.
A passenger in Yu’s car told the CHP that Yu did not see Torckler coming toward him and cut the corner directly into Torckler’s path.
The bicycle hit the front of the Honda, throwing Torckler onto the Honda’s windshield before he landed on the pavement, according to the CHP.
Yu fled the scene of the collision but was arrested the next day. The Honda he allegedly stole from his father was found in Rohnert Park on Monday.
Yu was being held in Sonoma County Jail.
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