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Friday, June 20, 2014

Cyclist Who Struck Jaywalker Off The Hook For Reckless Driving

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 12:28 PM

John Kewin isn't responsible for pedestrians who don't use crosswalks
  • John Kewin isn't responsible for pedestrians who don't use crosswalks

A San Francisco jury sided with a local cyclist, saying he wasn't at fault when plowing into a pedestrian who was allegedly jaywalking through Noe Valley last year.

The incident happened on Sept. 23, 2013; the cyclist -- 20-year-old John Kewin -- was pedaling along 24th Street between Castro and Noe streets in broad daylight when he struck a female pedestrian.

The woman was knocked unconscious and suffered facial injuries. Kewin, an avid cyclist who is known as being cautious and careful (he was wearing a helmet at the time), stopped at the scene, cooperated with authorities, and was later charged with reckless driving.

But after three witnesses testified in the week-long trial, the jury on June 10 voted to 11-1 to acquit Kewin, making it a hung jury. Then on Wednesday, prosecutors went ahead and dropped the reckless driving charges against him, according to the Public Defender's Office.

During the trial, a motorist who saw the collision testified that "Kewin appeared to be adjusting his path to avoid the pedestrian and unavoidably struck her when she suddenly changed course." Another cyclist at the scene conflicted that testimony, saying that Kewin was speeding and swerving. A third witness claimed to have never seen Kewin prior to the incident.

The pedestrian, who was reportedly not in a crosswalk at the time of the incident, also took the stand: in her testimony, she claimed that she was crossing 24th Street to check her parking meter and was hit when she turned around to head back to the curb.

"The evidence in this case was clear: It was an accident, not a crime," said Deputy Public Defender Tammy Zhu.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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