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Cyclist killed, 1 hurt; driver charged with DUI
Man, 69, jailed in fatal accident on Highway 12

- Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer
Monday, April 12, 2004

© 2004- The Chronicle

A 69-year-old Santa Rosa man was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after he fatally struck a bicyclist and seriously injured his female biking companion as they took an Easter Sunday ride in Sonoma County.

Harvey Hereford was booked into Sonoma County jail on two charges of driving under the influence and causing injury or death.

He will remain in custody at the Sonoma County jail until his arraignment later this week, said Shannon King, a spokeswoman for the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities withheld the names of the victims until relatives are notified.

The female cyclist was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with major head injuries. Her condition and prognosis were unknown Sunday afternoon, King said.

Witnesses said Hereford turned his green 1995 Nissan Sentra off Pythian Road and headed westbound on Highway 12 about 11:20 a.m. Hereford, who was alone in his car, was said to have been driving erratically and slightly over the 50 mph speed limit.

"He immediately began to weave all over the road and then drifted onto the right shoulder, striking the two bicyclists,'' King said. "Initially, it didn't seem like he knew he had struck them and caused the crash.'' Hereford hit the two riders from behind as they cycled westbound on the shoulder, immediately killing a 31-year-old man from Mountain View.

He had been dating his 26-year-old companion, who is from Cupertino, for about six months.

The woman was cycling about 100 feet ahead of her partner when the car hit them. She was thrown off her bicycle and struck her head on the ground.

King said both cyclists were wearing helmets, were traveling single file in the direction of the traffic and were well off the road.

"They were riding responsibly, and it was a horrible crash,'' King said.

An off-duty Vallejo police officer who saw the accident and a Windsor motorcycle officer detained Hereford about 300 feet from the crash until the CHP officers arrived at 11:36 a.m.

The officers transported Hereford to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for tests on the level of alcohol in his blood system.

The crash closed one lane of Highway 12 for about four hours.

E-mail Pamela J. Podger at

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