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A Rohnert Park man was charged Tuesday with reckless driving and hit-and-run, both causing injury, in a crash that seriously injured a professional bicycle racer in Sonoma County on Friday. Arthur Ben Yu, 36, delayed entering a plea in Sonoma County Superior Court to those felony charges and to felony auto theft, possession of a stolen vehicle and a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended license. He is being held in the Sonoma County jail under no bail.
Yu was heading north in a 1996 Honda at 15-20 mph on Pine Flat Road northeast of Healdsburg Friday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol said. Yu allegedly cut the corner on a right curve in the road and drove into the path of 25-year-old Michael Torckler’s Pinarello bicycle, who was riding south, the CHP said. Torckler was ejected from the bicycle, struck the Honda’s windshield and fell onto the pavement, the CHP said.
A passenger in the Honda stayed at the scene to check on Torckler but Yu drove away, the CHP said. Yu was arrested the next day when his roommate, who was not the passenger in the Honda, called the CHP. Torckler, a New Zealand resident who races for the Bissell Pro Cycling team based in Santa Rosa, suffered facial injuries and is in fair condition today at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, hospital spokeswoman Katy Hillenmeyer said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney William Brockley said whether Yu was intoxicated is still under investigation. Brockley said Yu faces nine years and 8 months in prison if convicted of the four charges filed today. Yu’s father reported the 1996 Honda was stolen a month ago, Brockley said. Yu has previous felony convictions for felony burglary, receiving stolen property, and grand theft auto since 1998. He has served at least four years in prison. Yu is scheduled to enter a plea and have a bail review on July 10.
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