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The Driver Who Killed Cyclist Bobby Cann May Plead Guilty Next Month

Bobby Cann. Photo: Michelle Klosinski, Groupon

There’s a chance that the case against the driver who killed cyclist Bobby Cann while allegedly speeding and drunk could be resolved next month, but it remains to be seen whether justice will be served. A 402 conference, during which the defendant may accept a plea deal, is planned for the next court hearing on Thursday, January 26, at 10 a.m. in room 301 at the Cook County courthouse at 2650 South California.

On the evening of May 29, 2013, Cann, 26, was biking at the intersection of Clybourn Avenue and Larabee Street when Ryne San Hamel, 28, struck and killed him. San Hamel was charged with reckless homicide and aggravated DUI, as well as misdemeanor DUI, reckless driving, and failure to stay in the lane.

According to a recent post on the Ride On Bobby Facebook page, maintained by Cann’s family, last week San Hamel’s lawyer Sam Adam Jr. notified assistant the state’s attorney that he plans to request the 402 conference. During this meeting, the defense, the prosecution, and Judge William Hooks would meet, either privately or in open court, to review the case, and Hooks would let the defense know what the likely sentence would be if he was to plead guilty.

If San Hamel agrees to plead guilty, the case would be resolved, and it would not go to trial. However, the defense has indicated that they will only accept a sentence of probation.

According to police, San Hamel was driving in excess of 50 mph and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15, well above the legal limit of 0.08. Moreover, the defendant has a history of driving under the influence. It would be unjust for San Hamel to serve no jail time for taking Cann's life, and it seems unlikely that probation alone would be an effective deterrent to prevent him from driving drunk in the future, and possibly causing another tragedy.

Ride on Bobby provided the following info about preparations for the 402 conference:

The Cook County pre-trial team will put together a report on the defendant’s past, including criminal and non-criminal events that will give a bigger picture of who he is and any mitigating or aggravating factors in his past. The other component of the 402 is the ADES (Alcohol and Drug Evaluation Services) evaluation, which will investigate drug and alcohol histories specifically as well as evaluate the degree of his problem with them. This evaluation will help determine what degree of rehabilitation, if any, is included in the sentence.

The state’s attorney’s office declined to comment on the upcoming hearing.

Cann family attorney Kate Conway said yesterday that the family is relieved that there has finally been some progress in the case, which has dragged on for three years. “They’re hopeful the 402 conference will lead to a resolution of the case,” Conway said.

According to Ride On Bobby, family and friends of Cann will have an opportunity to submit victim impact statements to Hooks before the 402 conference, and a few of the statements may be read in court. “This is the only opportunity the judge will have to learn about Bobby Cann,” the post stated.

Members of the local bike community are encouraged to show up for the January 26 hearing. “It will be very helpful if there are supporters for Bobby in the courtroom,” the post stated.

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