A 30-year-old male motorist entered a no contest plea in a felony hit-and-run resulting in a death case last Tuesday, Sept. 18. He stands accused of having been responsible for having caused a fatal accident along state Highway 1 on April 29, 2017.
According to a police report in the case, the victim, a 44-year-old Half Moon Bay man, had been riding his bicycle northbound along Highway 1 approaching Furtado Lane immediately before the crash occurred. Soon thereafter, witnesses reported seeing the cyclist being struck by the defendant's vehicle.
The motorist apparently left the scene of the crash with the bicycle still stuck under his vehicle. Deputies with the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department were able to track the man to a location a mile away from the crash scene. When they arrived there, they found the bicycle still underneath his car.
When asked by police about its presence, he stated that he was unaware that he'd struck a bicyclist. He noted that he thought that he'd hit a guardrail instead.
Prosecutors reportedly took their time in filing charges against the man for several months after the accident occurred as they continued investigating what had occurred. They ultimately concluded that there was no evidence that the man had been distracted by his cellphone at the time of the crash. He tested negative for drug and alcohol use as well.
The defendant ultimately pleaded no contest in the case after reaching a deal with the presiding judge in the matter. Under the existing agreement, he will be incarcerated in a county jail for as long as one year. He's currently free on a $60,000 bail until his sentencing hearing occurs on Nov. 8.
In criminal cases, the burden falls on the prosecution to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. With civil cases, such as wrongful death cases, the onus falls on the shoulders of the party that has been wronged, the plaintiff, to find the proof to show negligence by the other party. This isn't always easy to do. A San Mateo attorney who is experienced in fighting for their clients' best interests is most apt to be successful in doing this.