SAN FRANCISCO -- A bicyclist pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter after running down a 71-year-old pedestrian in what San Francisco's top prosecutor said Tuesday appeared to be the first such conviction of its kind in the nation.
Under the unusual plea deal last week, Chris Bucchere, 37, would not serve any jail time and instead would be sentenced to three years of probation and sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service in the death of Sutchi Hui of San Bruno, District Attorney George Gascón said.
"Our goal is to send a message to cyclists about safety," Gascón said. "Just because you are riding a bicycle doesn't mean all bets are off. All of the rules of the road that apply to everyone else apply to you, too."
A software engineer from San Francisco, Bucchere had been riding recklessly and had run three red lights when he struck Hui as he and his wife crossed a street in the Castro District on March 29, 2012, prosecutors said.
Hui died four days later of injuries from the collision. His wife was not hurt.
Bucchere's attorney, Ted Cassman, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Hui's family has filed a civil suit against Bucchere regarding the fatality.
Gascón said the victim's family did not want to see Bucchere incarcerated and prosecutors did not think a judge would sentence him to jail time, so they offered probation and community service in the plea deal.
Gascón added they did not want to risk a possible not guilty verdict at a trial.
"We believe this is the best outcome for this type of case," he said.
Gascón said his office had done research and didn't find any other cases in which a prosecutor had obtained a manslaughter conviction against a bicyclist.
"To our knowledge, we believe it is the first in the nation," he said.
The incident drew widespread attention and criticism after Bucchere, while hospitalized with his injuries, posted his thoughts on the Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group.
Gascón said prosecutors argued during a preliminary hearing in March that the post did not show any remorse, as defense lawyers had argued.