Lawyer Charged in Fatal Hit-And-Run that Killed Bicyclist Due in Court

Defendant's attorney says his client knew he "hit something" but not whether it was a person.

The attorney representing a San Ramon lawyer charged with felony hit-and-run in the death of a bicyclist struck and killed on Dougherty Valley Road in May gave a clue in an interview with Patch as to his possible defense.

Spencer Freeman Smith, due back in court at the Gale-Schenone Hall of Justice Pleasanton on Tuesday to have a "special master" appointed to the case, also faces a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter.

"The question is did he [Smith] realize he hit a human being," William Gagen said. "He realized he hit something because there was a huge hole in the windshield. He called his insurance company the next day and left it parked in the garage."

Gagen confirmed that Smith did not call Dublin Police to report the collision. He was not able to give any further comment about why he did not call.

Alameda County District Attorney representative Teresa Drenick said no additional charges have been filed and that all of Smith's court appearances have been "setting dates."

Gagen said the case is moving slowly and that the "special master" is someone with technical ability to examine electronic equipment like laptops and iPads and is a standard procedure.

Dublin Police Lt. Herb Walters said police are now done with their investigation and that everything is "in the District Attorney's hands."

Simth has been charged with felony hit-and-run and a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter. Smith is accused of hitting bicyclist who was visiting Dublin from China when he was killed in the Dougherty Road and Fall Creek Road intersection at around 11:30 p.m. on May 15.

Smith was arrested by Dublin police three days later, after officers searched his San Ramon home and found a black Mercedes with damage to the windshield and front end. The car was missing the same parts that were found at the scene of the crash, Dublin police said.

The crash took place about three miles from Smith's home.

Smith is also in the process of a DMV hearing which deals with the status of his driver's license as it relates to this case. 

Walters wrote, via email:

"It is my understanding that the DMV hearing is going to be continued because Spencer's attorney was asking Officer Castellucio questions that he could not answer, only the detectives could, otherwise it would be hearsay."

Gagen was not able to comment on the DMV hearing as he is not representing Smith on that portion of the case. Gagen says Dublin Police have been very good to work with on this case.

"The last thing in the world that Smith or I want to say is that Dublin Police have been difficult," Gagen said. "Dublin Police have been extremely cooperative in letting us see what we want. They have put a lot of time and heart in this case."

Smith practiced law in San Francisco at the time of the collision.

Patch editor Patrick Creaven contributed to this story.

Mom2boys January 16, 2014 at 01:15 PM
This man had to of been drunk. Otherwise why would he run? Had he been sober he wouldn't have run, it was 11:30 at night, the man (rip) may not have had a halogen light on his bike, the bicyclist may have swerved into traffic. This accident may not have been the defendants fault if he had not been drinking. In my opinion this is a felony manslaughter case.
forrest smith January 16, 2014 at 07:26 PM
As to the defendant's requesting a "Special Master", we have the following from "APPOINTING SPECIAL MASTERS AND OTHER JUDICIAL ADJUNCTS: A Handbook for Judges and Lawyers" "1.13 Criminal Case Master In criminal cases, special masters can assist the court in administering the resolution of cases. Masters can assist the prosecution and the defense in negotiating plea bargains while preserving and protecting the interest of the public and the constitutional rights of the defendant. Judicial adjuncts may also help in administering or monitoring non-jail sentencing terms and conditions. The master’s role is also to review sensitive documents and secure them until a court determines if the items are privileged. " Clearly, Freeman-Smith, himself an attorney, is pulling out all the stops and taking advantage of "special" stuff none of us peasants ever heard of and none of us common folk would ever be able to have if we were in a similar situation. Don't be surprised if the State of California and/or the victim's family is ordered to pay for the broken windshield on the defendant's Mercedes. "Special Master" means special treatment for special people.
Becky January 16, 2014 at 07:36 PM
Lawyers know how to work it to get away with something.
Ken Johnson January 23, 2014 at 04:49 PM
My 'gut' feeling get stronger - telling me that he will get away with this, all evidence will be 'lost' and he will continue to practice law. Although I do not know Smith, I am convinced he has zero remorse and this is a simply little bump in the road for him. In a civilized society he would face the errors of his ways - however, society is not all that civilized and I believe Smith sees no errors in his ways. Boy - did he ever pick the right profession! Sleazy and using every option available to him.
Rick James April 07, 2014 at 11:36 PM
What ever happened to innocent until proven guilty. .


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