Feb 27, 2001

Bay Area News Roundup
Local news all the time

Bay City News Report

Bail for a truck driver who allegedly struck and
killed a San Francisco bicyclist was revised to $1.5
million today, leaving prosecutors secure that he will
not be released anytime soon.

San Francisco police arrested trucker Rueben Espinoza,
43, on Feb. 5 and prosecutors charged him with
involuntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly
weapon, and assault with force likely to produce great
bodily injury. Bail was originally set at $2 million.

Charges stem from a Nov. 17 incident in which bicycle
messenger Chris Robertson, 30, was run down by a
suspect who was driving a semi-truck on Fourth Street
and allegedly hurled a wooden block at the cyclist who
died that evening.

Attorney David Simerly appeared in court today with
some 40 letters of support for his client, Espinoza,
who is a three strikes candidate. Prior convictions
include one for a 1979 voluntary manslaughter and
another for a 1993 assault with a deadly weapon.

Simerly said outside court that Superior Court Judge
Cynthia Ming Mei-Lee's decision today to reduce the
bail to $1.5 million was "totally unwarranted given
the facts of the case." Simerly said that for the past
nine years Espinoza has been working two jobs, raising
three sons, and going to his church.

"He is a solid community member, has a spotless DMV
record, and hasn't been arrested for anything ... He
pulled it together, why slam him now ..." Simerly said
about his client.

Assistant District Attorney Murlene Randle said
outside court that prosecutors do not believe Espinoza
could make the new bail as it was still high and are
satisfied that he could not be released to the public.

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