Driver sentenced to 10 years for hit-and-run on bicyclist
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The driver who fled the scene after hitting and seriously injuring a professional bicyclist was sentenced to 10 years by Superior Court Judge Kenneth Gnoss on Nov. 30.

Arthur Ben Yu, 37, of Rohnert Park, was sentenced after pleading no contest to five counts, including felony hit-and-run, reckless driving and stealing a vehicle, in the matter relating to the hit and run New Zealand bicyclist Michael Torckler. Yu was also convicted of driving on a suspended license and possession of a stolen vehicle.

“The sentence appropriately reflects the irresponsible and reckless conduct of Mr. Yu by driving while intoxicated and fleeing the scene after someone was seriously injured,” Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said.

The charges resulted from a collision on June 29, 2012, between Yu, who was driving a 1996 Honda he had stolen from his father, and Torckler.  The defendant and his passenger were travelling on Pine Flat Road, north of Highway 128, when Yu crossed into the opposing lane of traffic and struck the 25-year-old Torckler. 

Torckler was on a training ride when Yu cut a corner and collided head-on with the bicyclist. 

Yu’s passenger, William Frasier, got out of the car to attend to the victim while Yu fled the scene in the vehicle. 

Torckler was airlifted by helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with numerous facial fractures and lacerations, a broken arm and torn ligaments in his knee.  Yu was arrested at his home in Rohnert Park the following day and admitted drinking and smoking marijuana prior to getting into the stolen vehicle.

Yu faced a maximum sentence of 11 years and 8 months in state prison and was ordered to pay restitution to Torckler in the amount of $22,659.83.  Yu had numerous prior felony convictions, including a prior strike for first degree burglary in 2002.  He was precluded from probation based on his prior strike.

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