Deputy pleads not guilty in cyclist accident

August 4, 2008 11:55:11 AM PDT
The Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy charged in an accident that killed two bicyclists pleaded not guilty through his attorney in superior court Monday morning. Deputy James Council is facing two misdemeanor counts of vehicular manslaughter. He is accused of crashing his patrol car into a group of three bicyclists in the Cupertino Hills in March. Some witnesses told investigators that the deputy said he may have fallen asleep at the wheel. Council faces up to two years in prison if he is found guilty. Felony charges are not being filed, since drug and alcohol tests came back negative. "I can tell you that we looked at all the possible scenarios in the case, and based upon the witnesses statements at the scene, that it didn't appear alcohol was involved and we believe the misdemeanor charges are appropriate," says Santa Clara County District Attorney Ray Mendoza. The bicyclists were in training when they were hit. 29-year-old Matt Peterson of San Francisco and 30-year-old Kristy Gough from Oakland were killed. A third biker had serious injuries and has since returned home to Germany.

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