Arthur Ben Yu Pleads Not Guilty in Hit-and-Run

Rohnert Park man enters plea from charges stemming from the June 29 incident on Pine Flat Road that injured cyclist Michael Torckler of New Zealand.


From the Bay City News

A Rohnert Park man pleaded not guilty this morning to felony reckless driving and hit-and-run charges in connection with a crash that seriously injured a professional bicycle racer in Sonoma County last month.

Arthur Ben Yu, 36, entered the pleas in Sonoma County Superior Court. He also pleaded not guilty to auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license.

He is being held in Sonoma County Jail on $85,000 bail. A preliminary hearing date will be set Wednesday.

Yu's 1996 Honda was traveling north on Pine Flat Road northeast of Healdsburg at 15 to 20 mph when the collision occurred at about 12:30 p.m. on June 29, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Yu cut the corner on a right curve in the road and drove into the path of 25-year-old Michael Torckler, who was riding south on his Pinarello bicycle, CHP officials said.

Torckler was ejected from the bicycle, struck the Honda's windshield and fell onto the pavement, according to CHP.

A passenger in the Honda stayed at the scene to check on Torckler but Yu drove away, according to the CHP. Yu was arrested the next day when his roommate, who was not the passenger in the Honda, called the CHP.

Torckler, a New Zealand resident who races for the Bissell Pro Cycling team based in Santa Rosa, suffered wounds to his face.

Chief Deputy District Attorney William Brockley said it remains under investigation whether Yu was intoxicated.

Brockley said Yu faces nine years and eight months in prison on the four charges.

Yu's father reported the 1996 Honda stolen a month ago, Brockley said.

Yu has previous felony convictions for felony burglary, receiving stolen property, and grand theft auto dating back to 1998. He served at least four years in prison, according to court records.


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