Driver Who Killed Cyclist Bobby Cann In Alleged DUI Won't Face Homicide Charges
By Emma G. Gallegos in News on Jul 29, 2015 4:00PM
Ryne San Hamel (Chicago Police Department)
A judge dismissed homicide charges against San Hamel, who was driving in Old Town in May of 2013 when he rear-ended Cann, who was biking home from his job at Groupon. Streetsblog Chicago calls the ruling a "setback" but notes that San Hamel is still charged with an aggravated DUI resulting in a death. That could carry an even heavier sentence than homicide charges; he faces three to fourteen years in prison if convicted on those charges.
San Hamel was driving 50 mph and had a blood-alcohol content of .127 when he struck Cann. A Chicago Reader article found that San Hamel had a history of being arrested on DUI charges and was let off with relatively light penalties before he fatally struck Cann. That's not unusual, particularly for drivers who can afford private attorneys. And San Hamel can: he comes from a politically connected family and in this case is being represented by the high-profile defense attorney Sam Adam Jr., whose clients include R. Kelly and Rod Blagojevich.
Adam argued that the the case for reckless homicide wasn't sufficiently spelled out in the indictment, and Judge William Hooks agreed, though he dismissed it without prejudice, meaning the Cook County State's Attorney can choose to refile those charges at a later date.
Tandra Simonton, a spokeswoman for the State's Attorney's office, didn't say whether prosecutors planned to refile charges, but she told Streetsblog, "We're still moving forward with the case."
Cann's family complained that justice has been too slow in this case. His mother Maria Cann told Chicago Reader on the second anniversary of his death, "We have trouble understanding why it would take so long—there must be issues we don't get. It is exceedingly frustrating. It is hard not to feel sometimes like this case has been forgotten."
Since Cann's death, the city and state have begun construction on the city's first curb-protected bike lane on the stretch of Clybourn Avenue where Cann was killed.
The next court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 10 a.m. at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, 2650 S. California Ave., Room 301.