Cyclist hits pedestrian, posts eulogy for helmet, say officials

Prosecutors in San Francisco claim a man who allegedly plowed into pedestrians -- after which one died -- later made an online post in which he told his version of events and lamented the death of his helmet.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read
The junction at which the accident took place. Google Street View

In today's edition of "Well, What Would You Have Done?" might I present the interesting and very contemporary case of Chris Bucchere?

Authorities say he happened to be going downhill, perhaps a little too quickly, at the corner of Castro and Market Streets in San Francisco, when the lights changed color to red.

Then, they say, he careered into pedestrians who were crossing in a crosswalk. The ultimate conclusion to this event was that 71-year-old Sutchi Hui died.

Though this might have been a tragic accident -- and it may well be that Hui didn't directly die from any injuries he might have sustained in it -- prosecutors believe they have found an online posting which might shed some light on the event and, indeed, on Bucchere.

For, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, prosecutors say someone with the handle "Bucchere Chris" posted a version of the accident on the Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group the very same day it happened.

This version -- which allegedly claimed that whoever made the post went into the intersection while the light was still yellow -- contained a lament for the poster's helmet.

It allegedly declared that the helmet "died in heroic fashion today as my head slammed into the tarmac.... May she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on. Can I get an amen? Amen."

You might say that whoever wrote the post might not have an entirely appropriate sense of occasion. Prosecutors say that the poster's account is linked to Bucchere's e-mail address. Indeed, they are reportedly working on the assumption that he wrote it.

The Mission Cycling AM Riders Google group requires membership. Not everyone on Google can view it. Which might suggest that someone in the group saw the post, was troubled by it, and passed it on to the police.

You might wonder if the poster did, at least, make mention of the human beings involved. Indeed. For the post allegedly read: "I couldn't see a line through the crowd and I couldn't stop, so I laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find."

These words also allegedly included: "I remember seeing a RIVER of blood on the asphalt, but it wasn't mine. I really hope he ends up OK."

It would surely take a particular sort of human being to, on injuring someone -- perhaps seriously, perhaps fatally -- choose to go to a public forum to air his undying feelings for his helmet.

Wouldn't you first want to, perhaps, visit any victims in hospital? Wouldn't you first, perhaps, want to simply be quiet and perhaps talk to a few close friends? This might be especially the case if there might be some doubt as to your innocence in the matter. Market Street is a very wide street. From the comments of the authorities and the contents of the supposed post, we can glean that the cyclist was allegedly crossing Market from the north, and that the accident happened on the south side.

Bucchere's lawyer, Ted Cassman, initially declined to comment to the Chronicle. The paper has subsequently reported, however, that Cassman issued a statement saying his client believes he didn't break any traffic laws. Cassman says his client is devastated by Hui's death.

Some might offer an amen to the idea that whoever wrote the alleged post seems to have been devastated by the loss of a helmet.