Patrol car hits world class cyclists; 2 dead

March 10, 2008 9:03:12 PM PDT
There is new information about a Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy whose patrol car hit three bicyclists in Cupertino, Sunday. Two of the bicyclists were killed.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating what led to the accident on Stevens Canyon Road. The two who died were world class Bay Area cyclists.

Flowers on the side of the road mark where three cyclists were hit on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino. The impact killed 30-year-old Kristy Gough of San Leandro and 29-year-old Matt Peterson of San Francisco. Twenty-year-old Christian Knapp from Germany is in the hospital in stable condition.

Dan Brasse was the fourth member of the team just 15 seconds behind the trio.

"It's just impossible to process the whole thing, what was going on. I thought the guys were going to get up and we were going to get on with our ride," says Brasse.

Brasse says the Santa Clara County sheriff deputy that crossed the double yellow line and hit the trio around 10:30 Sunday morning told him, he dozed off.

The sheriff's department says the deputy involved in the crash is 27-year-old James Council who had been on the force for 18 months and assigned to patrol the Cupertino area.

The department will not comment on Deputy Council's apparent statements that he fell asleep, but did reveal he works from six in the morning until 6:30 at night.

"He's ethically and morally sound. I have nothing but praise to say about Deputy Council. I know that he's devastated right now," says Sgt. Don Morrissey with the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department.

The CHP is in charge of the investigation which they say will take at least 30 days. They aren't talking about the evidence so far.

"There are a lot of why's involved. Why did the deputy cross over the double yellow lines? Why did he hit the bicyclists? And of course numerous questions that may come out as a result of the investigation," says CHP Officer Todd Thibodeau.

Teammates of the cyclists say it's hard to understand how the deputy may have fallen asleep four hours into his shift, but they do want answers.

"We want an investigation. We want to know for sure what happened and that's really the only way we'll get some closure on this chapter," says Anthony Borba, team captain for Third Pillar Racing Team.

The Bay Area cycling community is already planning a memorial ride for this weekend in honor of the victims.


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