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SONOMA COUNTY
Bicyclist killed by car identified

- Pamela J. Podger, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

© 2004- The Chronicle

The 31-year-old cyclist from Mountain View who was fatally struck by an alleged drunken driver's vehicle in Sonoma County was identified Monday as Alan Liu by the Sonoma County sheriff's coroner.

An autopsy done Monday found that Liu died of multiple blunt force injuries from the impact, said coroner's Sgt. Will Wallman.

"It is a tragedy. He's one of those people who was doing all of the right things,'' Wallman said. Liu's cycling companion Sunday, 26-year-old Jill Mason of Cupertino, was in critical condition in the intensive care unit at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with brain trauma and spinal damage, friends and hospital officials said. The two had been dating for about six months.

Liu, an engineer at Applied Materials in Sunnyvale, was the head coach of the Mountain View Masters Swim Team for the past seven years. He also started water polo and triathlon clubs for the Mountain View swim team.

"He was constantly thinking of different things for the team to do. His focus was having everyone know each other. It was a fun team to be on because of him,'' Laura Schuster, team president.

Liu received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT in 1994, according to a spokesman in the alumni relations office.

Both Mason and Liu were training for Wildflower 1/2-Ironman on May 1 at Lake San Antonio (Monterey County), Schuster said.

Another friend, John Kruempelstaedter, 40, of Cupertino, said Liu was very dedicated and integral part of the swim team.

"He was very generous and giving -- it was amazing what he could fit in, '' he said. "Alan was very soft-spoken and humble, yet influential.''

The suspect, 69-year-old Harvey Hereford of Santa Rosa, posted $60,000 bail late Sunday night. He faces felony charges of driving under the influence and vehicular manslaughter.

He will be arraigned in Sonoma County Superior Court on April 26.

California Highway Patrol Officer Shannon King said witnesses spotted Hereford as he turned his 1995 Nissan Sentra out of Pythian Road onto Highway 12 at about 11:20 a.m. Sunday. Witnesses said Hereford was weaving and driving erratically as he headed west at more than 50 mph.

Hereford reportedly first struck Liu, who was hit from behind as he cycled westbound on the shoulder of Highway 12. King said Liu died immediately on the scene.

Mason, who was cycling about 100 feet ahead of Liu, was toppled off of her bicycle and hit her head on the ground. Both of the cyclists were wearing helmets.

E-mail Pamela J. Podger at ppodger@sfchronicle.com.

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URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/09/28/BAGVO903NQ1.DTL


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