Contra Costa DA charges driver who struck bicyclist

The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office has charged a driver Thursday with vehicular manslaughter in the April collision that killed a renowned cyclist, authorities said.

LAFAYETTE, CA – APRIL 23: A ghost bike is surrounded by flowers and notes for cyclist Joe Shami, of Lafayette, at the roundabout intersection of Pleasant Hill Drive and Olympic Boulevard in Lafayette, Calif., on Friday, April 23, 2021. The 86-year-old retired AT&T employee died April 13 from injuries he sustained that morning when he and an SUV collided at about 6:45 a.m. Joe was referred to as the “Legend of Mount Diablo” because he had ridden his bicycle up to the summit of Mount Diablo every week for nine years. The group “Mount Diablo Cyclists” announced on social media that a memorial service will be held May 1. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group) 

In a statement, a spokesperson with the district attorney’s office said Lori Everett was charged with striking Joseph Shami, 86, with her Lexus sport-utility vehicle on the morning of April 13 at a Lafayette intersection. No court date has been set yet for the charge.

Shami was taken to a hospital, where he was later pronounced dead of his injuries.

“Mr. Shami was an incredibly experienced cyclist who lawfully entered the roundabout at the interchange of Olympic Boulevard and Pleasant Hill Road,” the statement read in part.

“Despite Mr. Shami’s bright helmet and colorful clothing, the motorist failed to yield, and struck the victim cyclist who was in an established lane of travel. Tragic roadway deaths like this are avoidable.

“To ensure the safety of our community, the Office of the District Attorney implores motorists to be active, attentive drivers and to be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists when sharing the roadways.”

Last month, Shami’s brother filed a legal claim against the city of Lafayette over the design of the roundabout. The claim seeks changes to the roundabout and could lead to a lawsuit.

Staff writer Shomik Mukherjee contributed to this report. Contact George Kelly at 408-859-5180.

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Author: George Kelly