Update: Man charged with manslaughter after hitting biker pleas not guilty
Update posted Jan. 19
Mark Hedges, a Templeton man who is charged with felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence following a Dec. 3 crash on Old Creek Road that killed 47-year-old San Luis Obispo resident Jose Martel, entered a plea of not guilty Tuesday, according to reports.
Investigators said that Hedges had illegally crossed over double-yellow lines to pass the vehicle in front of him, striking Martell and killing him instantly.
Hedges is due back in court next week.
Original story posted Dec. 23, 2016
San Luis Obispo physician Jose Martell killed
—A Templeton man who struck and killed a cyclist on Dec. 3 according to the CHP is now facing a felony manslaughter charge issued by San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow.
Mark Hedges, 59, has been charged with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence after colliding head-on with Jose Martell, a 47-year-old physician who practiced in San Luis Obispo. Heading east from Cayucos up Old Creek Road, Hedges had illegally crossed over double-yellow lines to pass the vehicle in front of him, striking Martell and killing him instantly.
Dow sent the criminal complaint to San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Dec. 20. A warrant for Hedges’ arrest will be signed by a superior court judge this week. Hedges is being represented by criminal defense attorney Ginger T. Ortiz.
Hedges could not be reached for comment but his wife, Tracy Lovesse, said, “This is a tragedy that’s affecting both families. We’re devastated.” Alan Cameron, a neighbor of Hedges who frequently drives Old Creek Road, called it a quick shortcut from the 46 down to the coastal highway. The neighbor commented, “That road is so dangerous for bicycles. Mark is a caring, nice person who’s been destroyed by this.”
The CHP investigation states that Hedges was driving east on Old Creek Road past Montecito Road in a 1995 Toyota Tacoma when he crossed double-yellow lines to pass another pickup in front of him.
As Hedges drove into the westbound lane to pass, he did not see Martell traveling toward him, and the two collided head-on, the CHP said.
CHP officer J.W. Townsend said that although the CHP recommended felony charges to the DA, “It was a horrific accident and tragic loss of life, but no drugs or alcohol were involved. The driver will have to account for his actions.”
Hedges, who has lived in the area for years, has a firewood business and is known as a surfer in the community.
A memorial service took place for Jose Martell on Dec. 11 and a Go Fund Me campaign has been set up for Jose Martell’s family to be able to deal with death expenses.
Martell was a clinical pharmacist at Sierra Vista Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo. A friend writing about Martell on his Go Fund Page commented: “Anyone who crossed Jose’s path shared at least this in common: a good laugh. He had a quirky sense of humor and was loved for his unique personality. A smile stretched across his face every time he started a conversation.”