Kristy Gough and Matt Peterson

A rookie Santa Clara County deputy sheriff, James Council, patrolling a winding Cupertino road Sunday morning veered into the opposite lane of traffic and struck three bicyclists at 10:25 a.m., killing Kristy Gough, 30, of San Leandro and Matt Peterson, 29, of San Francisco. Cyclist Christopher Knapp was injured in the collision. Witnesses at the scene said there were no skid marks and that the officer said he had fallen asleep at the wheel. When the accident happened, Council was 4 1/2 hours into a 12-hour shift after working a 12 1/2-hour shift the day before.

Kristianna Gough was an Olympic candidate and the third-fastest, non-professional women’s triathlete in the world, her mother said.

“People who knew her will tell you, she was a phenomenon. She broke all records. She started cycling only a short time ago to gain strength in her legs for the Olympic triathlon,” Gough’s mother, Karen Clarkson, of San Leandro, said.

“She won every race she entered. She was her happiest when she was out on her bike or running,” she said.

“Matt was truly a talented cyclist and a generous and kind human being. He always had something nice to say to EVERYONE. Always encouraging the rest of us to strive to be our best, I will always remember the “epic” ride he put together that happened to be my first team ride back after being off the bike for quite a while. The whole ride went up and up and up, and as I struggled to keep the group in sight, he always came back down the hill to offer words of encouragement to get me up the hill. A true class act that lived his life to the fullest. I will miss him.” -Scott

Read more at  Matt’s Memorial website.

The three victims were among about a dozen people riding with Third Pillar, a San Mateo bicycle racing team, and Team Roaring Mouse from San Francisco.

Gough was a professional triathlete who had recently taken up road racing and who had won every race she entered in 2008. She and Peterson, an amateur road-racing cyclist who, like Gough, had done triathlons, both won their divisions in a road-racing event in Merced eight days before they died.

Memorial Ride

Santa Clara County will pay $2.3 million to the parents of one of two bicyclists killed when a sheriff’s deputy drove his patrol car into a group of cyclists.

Council was sentenced in June 2009 to four months in jail and 800 hours of community service after pleading guilty to two counts of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. Officials said he would probably serve the jail term in home detention or by participating in the sheriff’s work-furlough program.

Council was demoted after the accident to an unsworn position as a sheriff’s technician. He is barred from driving a patrol car or carrying a gun.

Read more: SF Chronicle

Location of crash

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