Crime

‘Grief stricken’ man who struck, killed SLO bicyclist sentenced to jail

Jose Martel, 47, of San Luis Obispo was killed in December 2016 when he was struck head-on by a pickup truck driven by Mark Hedges of Templeton as he attempted to pass another vehicle on Old Creek Road in Cayucos.
Jose Martel, 47, of San Luis Obispo was killed in December 2016 when he was struck head-on by a pickup truck driven by Mark Hedges of Templeton as he attempted to pass another vehicle on Old Creek Road in Cayucos.

A Templeton man who struck and killed a bicyclist in Cayucos while trying to illegally pass another vehicle in December 2016 will serve about 45 days in County Jail after pleading no contest to manslaughter in October.

Mark Jeffery Hedges, 60, was sentenced Wednesday to 90 days in County Jail and three years of supervised probation after pleading no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the death of Jose Martel of San Luis Obispo.

Hedges will serve about half of that time in jail, due to various automatic credits.

In December 2016, Hedges was driving east on Old Creek Road in Cayucos east of Highway 1 in a 1995 Toyota Tacoma when he crossed double-yellow lines to pass another vehicle.

As Hedges drove into the westbound lane to pass, he did not see Martel traveling toward him and the two collided head-on, CHP said at the time.

Martel, 47, was thrown from the bike and died of blunt force trauma injuries. Hedges pulled over to the shoulder and waited for authorities. Officers ruled out alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor.

On Friday, Hedges’ attorney, Ginger Ortiz, said Hedges has taken Martel’s death hard. Ortiz said he’s taking responsibility and cooperating in the criminal case as well as a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Martel’s family.

“My client has been grief stricken. He’s also suffering as a consequence of this,” Ortiz said. “Bottom line is, he wants to convey to (Martel’s) family how sorry he is.”

On Friday, Martel’s niece, Adriana Webb, said her uncle had lived in San Luis Obispo for six years at the time of his death and worked as a pharmacist at a local hospital.

“He was very passionate about his job but outside of work he lived for cycling,” Webb wrote in a Facebook message. “He died doing the thing he loved the most.”

A Facebook memorial page dedicated to Martel had 184 members on Friday.

Hedges is scheduled to report to jail in February.

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