San Francisco, CA — A motorcyclist who fatally struck a pedestrian near the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008 was found not guilty of vehicular manslaughter by a San Francisco jury Wednesday.
The jury deliberated for less than an hour before acquitting San Francisco resident Anatoly Volvovik, 35, of the misdemeanor charge. He faced up to a year in county jail if convicted.
“It didn’t take long for the jury to determine this was a tragic, unavoidable accident and not a crime,” said Volvovik’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kwixuan Maloof.
The charge stemmed from an Oct. 28, 2008 accident on Richardson and Chestnut streets. Volvovik was driving his 1977 Honda motorcycle below the 35 miles per hour speed limit when Marie Xian Ning Guo, 75, attempted to cross Richardson Street against a red light.
Two drivers slammed on their brakes, narrowly missing Guo, who continued to walk while looking at the ground, witnesses testified. Volvovik, whose view was obstructed by larger vehicles, hit Guo and was thrown from his motorcycle. Guo later died at San Francisco General Hospital.
During the four-day trial, one of the motorists who nearly hit Guo described praying that passing drivers would see the small woman, who appeared oblivious to traffic. A cyclist who was waiting at the intersection also took the stand, describing a traffic conditions that were too busy for a pedestrian to cross safely. A collision reconstruction expert testified it would have been impossible for Volvovik to stop his motorcycle in time to avoid the crash.
Volvovik was not under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, Maloof said.
Public Defender Jeff Adachi praised the jury’s decision.
“Mr. Volvovik was traveling at a safe speed, following all traffic laws. There was simply no evidence he could have avoided this terrible accident,” Adachi said.