An Oakland man accused of hitting and killing a bicyclist with his car in San Francisco’s North of Panhandle neighborhood last year was ordered today to stand trial in the case. On the night of Aug. 13, 2010, Joshua Calder, 37, was driving south on Masonic Avenue near Turk Street when he allegedly struck 21-year-old Nils Linke, who was visiting the U.S. from Germany. According to police and prosecutors, Linke was also riding south on Masonic Avenue and was struck from behind by an older-model Mercedes-Benz. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Calder allegedly fled the scene, but was found about two blocks away after witnesses gave police a description of the vehicle. He pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving, and hit-and-run, prosecutors said.
At the preliminary hearing in the case, which started on July 25 but was delayed for a week before it finished today, Calder’s defense attorney Daniel Barton admitted that his client had been drinking before the crash but denied that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit. Assistant District Attorney Todd Barrett countered that Calder had the equivalent of seven alcoholic drinks in his system, as well as THC from smoking marijuana. Barrett alleged that Calder had been speeding and had swerved in the road prior to striking Linke, but Barton said that there is insufficient evidence that Calder had been driving negligently prior to the accident. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam ordered Calder to stand trial on all of the charges, noting that police investigators found no skid marks on the road that would indicate that he was driving safely and tried to stop before striking Linke. Calder will return to court on Sept. 1 to be formally arraigned on the charges.
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