Originally created 06/08/06

Man takes deal in cyclist's death



A Martinez man accused of fatally striking a bicyclist with a car in August was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

As part of a plea agreement with the district attorney's office, Richard Kyle Post, 26, of the 4200 block of Green Ivy Circle, pleaded guilty to vehicular homicide in the first degree, kidnapping, failing to stop or return to the scene of an accident, driving on the wrong side of the road, reckless driving, driving under the influence of alcohol and making false statements.

On Aug. 29, police say, Mr. Post drove into Harendra K. Sinha, 63, of the 100 block of Springlakes Drive, who was riding a bicycle in Springlakes subdivision. Police said Mr. Post drove a mile with the cyclist lodged in his windshield before he pulled Mr. Sinha from the windshield to the ground and abandoned him and the car behind an elementary school. He then called police from a gas station to report that he had been carjacked.

Mr. Sinha died of his injuries Sept. 23.

In addition to the prison sentence, Mr. Post must pay a $300 fine.

"It will never be enough," said Mr. Sinha's son, Sid Sinha.

In Wednesday's court session, prosecutors said Mr. Post's blood alcohol content at the time of the incident was 0.124. The legal limit is 0.08.

"I am very sorry," Mr. Post said tearfully to Mr. Sinha's son and widow, Meera, after being sentenced. "I know there are no words or any actions that can bring your loved one back. ... The one good thing that can come out of this is another kid out there can see this and not make the same mistakes I did. I am so sorry."

Mr. Post's trial had been continued Monday because the district attorney's office and Mr. Post's attorneys, Hugh Hadden and Tonya Jeffers, requested a mental evaluation after Mr. Hadden said he had filed a notice of intent to raise mental illness as a defense.

District Attorney Danny Craig said the plea agreement was offered to Mr. Post Monday morning, but Mr. Post declined and opted for the trial.

On Wednesday, after the jury had been selected, but before opening statements, Mr. Post met with his parents and attorneys and accepted the plea deal.

Mr. Craig said if Mr. Post had been convicted by a jury of kidnapping with bodily injury, one of the original charges he faced, he would have received the mandatory sentence of life in prison and could have been considered for parole in his 14th year of confinement.

With the 25-year sentence, Mr. Post can be considered for parole in his 15th year of confinement and has given up his right to appeals.

Reach Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.