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Sep 13, 2004

Sheriff's deputy hits cyclists, killing 2

Monday, March 10, 2008
2 cyclists killed in crash. Chronicle Graphic Cyclist Matt Peterson, who was struck and killed by a she... Kristy Gough was struck and killed on Sunday as she and h...

(03-09) 20:42 PDT Cupertino -- A rookie Santa Clara County deputy sheriff patrolling a winding Cupertino road Sunday morning veered into the opposite lane of traffic and struck three bicyclists, killing two, including a rising star in the Bay Area cycling community, authorities said.

Authorities did not release the names of the riders who were killed, but friends identified them as Kristy Gough, 30, of San Leandro and Matt Peterson, 29, of San Francisco. The third cyclist, whose name was not released, was listed in critical condition Sunday night at Stanford University Medical Center.

Gough was a professional triathlete who recently took up road racing and who friends said won every race she entered this year. She and Peterson, also an amateur road racing cyclist, both won their divisions in a March 1 road racing event in downtown Merced.

Gough, Peterson and the third cyclist were on a training ride on Stevens Canyon Road and had broken away from a group of eight others when they were struck by the on-duty deputy at about 10:25 a.m., friends of the riders said.

The unidentified deputy was driving northbound when his white cruiser accidentally crossed over the double yellow line between Montebello and Ricardo roads and hit the cyclists, said Sgt. Don Morrissey, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department.

The deputy, who has worked for the department for about 18 months, immediately began to offer assistance to the bicyclists and called for medical aid, Morrissey said.

"The deputy is very distraught over this right now," Morrissey said. "It's devastating for everybody involved." Morrissey did not know whether Stevens Canyon Road is a route the deputy normally patrols.

As is customary when a local law enforcement officer is involved in a fatal crash, the deputy was placed on paid administrative leave and the California Highway Patrol is conducting the investigation.

Peterson, a member of the Roaring Mouse Cycles racing team, was pronounced dead at the scene. Gough died several hours later at Stanford University Medical Center, where the third rider, a 20-year-old, was admitted with major injuries, according to CHP Officer Todd Thibodeau.

Roaring Mouse Cycles on Irving Street in San Francisco, a bicycle shop that sponsored the team to which Peterson belonged, posted word of his death on its Web site. His death was confirmed by David Parrish, president of the Roaring Mouse racing team.

Two of Gough's friends, Dave Mayer and Anthony Borba, rode with her on the Third Pillar Amateur Road Racing team but were not present on Sunday's ride. They spoke with her family and said that she died as a result of head injuries and internal bleeding and that she also suffered a severed leg.

Mayer, 30, of Portola Valley, and Borba, 32, of Campbell, stood outside the hospital Sunday afternoon and recalled a talented athlete who excelled at cycling, even though road racing was a relatively new sport for her.

"She's the strongest rider I ever rode with," Borba said. "The next level for her would have been the Olympic trials, and she had no ego about it."

The group of riders hit by the deputy on Sunday were on a stretch of road frequently used by cyclists, but also heavily traveled by gravel trucks en route to a nearby quarry. In 1996, a 46-year-old Cupertino man was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer rig while riding a bicycle near the scene of Sunday's accident.

Borba said his racing team regularly uses the road for training rides because it is considered safe.

"It has a large bicycle lane that is safe," he said. "That's why we ride that route every weekend."

Chris Wendt, 53, who lives near the scene of the crash, called the incident a tragedy.

"I don't want to say it was inevitable," he said. "But you do get a lot of (vehicles) and bikes up here. What was surprising is that it was a sheriff's deputy."

Anyone with information about the incident should call the CHP at (408) 467-5354, ext. 337.


Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
NORCAL is the hizzle
Absolutely horrible confluence of bad luck, bad timing, bad conduct, just bad all around.

The driver/deputy admitted at the scene that he had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Such a waste.


Turbo Monkey
Aug 6, 2007
I read the report on velonews.com, very sad. Its a very unfortunate event.


Turbo Monkey
Dec 9, 2004
It's a very sad event. I know the Tri community up there is pretty shook up about it.

The cycling guy for SI has a nice article today about it.


I got bounced off an SUV on Sunday, when the soccer mom driving it decided that she had room to try and pass me then make a right turn in front of me at an intersection....what's even close to having the room to do it.

That kinda stuff seems to be getting more common around here.


unemployed bum
Oct 24, 2002
Watchin' you. Writing it all down.
The California sheriff's deputy whose patrol car ran down three competitive cyclists on March 9, killing two of them, was charged Thursday with two counts of vehicular manslaughter. If found guilty, deputy James Council could receive a jail sentence of up to two years, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The accident happened when Council fell asleep at the wheel of his car and crossed the centre line on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino, California. He was four and a half hours into his shift after working over 12 hours the previous day. Matt Peterson, 29, of San Francisco and 30 year-old Kristy Gough of San Leandro were both killed, while 20 year-old German Christopher Knapp suffered a broken arm.

The charges were classified as misdemeanours rather than felonies, as Council had not engaged in serious reckless driving, nor did he have drugs or alcohol in his system. A GPS device in his patrol car and witnesses at the scene confirmed Council was not speeding.

Assistant District Attorney David Tomkins told the newspaper that prosecutors had spent more than two months reaching a decision on the charges, after requesting a sample of Council's blood be re-analysed for traces of over-the-counter and prescription medication. "We wanted to make sure," said Tomkins. "That's why we ordered a more sophisticated drug screening."

Council was charged at the Santa Clara County jail on Thursday and subsequently released on $5000 bail.


find me a tampon
Jul 20, 2002
Orange County, CA
Did he get fired yet? Paid ****ing leave? What does a cop have to do to lose his job? Rape a class of preschool children on the halftime show during the Superbowl?

Every job I've had, I would have gotten canned if I had fallen asleep at 10:25am. Even if I didn't kill two people.

That sucks. RIP.