NEWS RELEASE  FROM: Amy Cornell, Public Information Officer   CONTACT PERSON: David Tomkins, Assistant District Attorney 408-792-2792   For release on June 19, 2008   CHARGES FILED IN SHERIFF’S DEPUTY BIKE FATALITY CASE   The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office caused a misdemeanor complaint to be filed charging Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Deputy James Council with two counts of vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of cyclists, Matt Peterson and Kristiana Gough.  The charges are the result of an extensive investigation by the California Highway Patrol and the District Attorney’s Office that included drug screening and the analysis of GPS data from Council’s patrol car.      The negative results of drug and alcohol testing by the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory and NMS Labs in Pennsylvania and the lack of any evidence of reckless driving immediately preceding the crash eliminated the possibility of more serious felony vehicular manslaughter charges.  Misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter can be committed by a driver who commits a Vehicle Code infraction or is negligent and causes the death of another.    Council was on duty and driving a patrol car on March 9, 2008 Southbound on Stevens Canyon Road in Cupertino, when he crossed the double yellow lines and collided with Matt Peterson, Kristiana Gough and Christopher Knapp who were riding bicycles in the northbound bicycle lane.  Peterson and Gough suffered fatal injuries.  Knapp, a German citizen, suffered serious injures but has recovered sufficiently to return to Germany. There are no comparable criminal charges for Council’s conduct in the absence of fatal injuries.   Council could spend up to two years in the county jail if convicted.   ###

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