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Motorist sentenced to community service for fatal bicycle crash
Criminal justice

Motorist sentenced to community service for fatal bicycle crash

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A Napa woman will serve 100 hours of community service for the fatal collision with a St. Helena bicyclist in August 2012 in Deer Park.

Napa County Superior Court Judge Francisca Tisher on Monday also ordered Kimberly Klingman to remain on probation for three years. Tisher ruled that 20 hours of the 100 community service hours have be set aside to raise awareness about bicyclist safety.

Klingman, a registered nurse, was on her way to work at St. Helena Hospital on Aug. 18, 2012 at the wheel of her BMW when she crashed into 54-year-old Richard Becker who was traveling downhill on his bike. Klingman stopped and performed first-aid on Becker at the intersection, but Becker died shortly after the crash at nearby St. Helena Hospital.

She was tried and convicted by a jury in June of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

Klingman, who received dozens of letters of support from co-workers and supervisors, friends and others asking the judge for leniency, cried as she read a letter to the Becker family in court Monday.

“I’m so very sorry for your loss,” said Klingman, 41.

Becker’s widow, Jennifer Becker, and his brother, Carl Becker, attended the week-long trial but not Monday’s hearing. In separate statements, both questioned Klingman’s decision to have a trial.

“Having to endure the minute details associated with the trial was not helpful for me (or others) in moving forward,” said Carl Becker of Chicago.

Letters in support of Klingman, who has no criminal record, described the registered nurse as caring and involved in multiple charitable groups.

Her husband, Robert Klingman, a physician, told the judge in a letter his wife has been going to counseling for the past two years, and has been on medication for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Klingman’s attorney, Doug Pharr, said in a brief that a wrongful death settlement has been reached in court with Richard Becker’s family for $5 million.

“This was a tragedy. It was clear Judge Tisher carefully considered the sentence, which was thoughtful and fair,” Pharr said in an email Tuesday.

Cody Hunt, the Napa County deputy district attorney who prosecuted the case, said Klingman will not serve any time in jail unless she violates the terms of her probation.

“This was a tragic occurrence, and although the defendant did not intend to hit Mr. Becker, she is ultimately responsible for the collision that took his life,” Hunt said in an email.

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