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Hit and Run Bicycle Accident Kills UC Berkeley Chief Counsel

On Sunday, UC Berkeley's chief campus counsel, Christopher M. Patti, died tragically in a fatal bicycle accident in Sonoma. According to the California Highway Patrol, Patti pulled his bike over to the side of Highway 116 around 8:45 a.m. A BMW swerved off the road and hit and killed him before driving away. He was only 59 years old.

By all accounts, Chris Patti was several car lengths away from the road, which should have been far enough to be safe under most conditions. As an attorney who has seen bicycle accident cases before, the facts suggest that the BMW was likely speeding and the driver was either drunk or inattentive for some other reason. Highway 116 has many wineries nearby, so perhaps that factored in here as well. Police are saying a man from Rio Nido named Jonathan Ritter is a person of interest in the investigation. If he was indeed driving that car, I hope that both criminal and civil proceedings will hold him fully accountable for this horrific accident.

Mr. Patti was a widely respected lawyer who had been with UC Berkeley since 2010 and the UC's Office of the President before that. He got his start as a litigator in San Francisco. By all accounts, he was an extraordinary lawyer with a great sense of integrity whose life was taken from him far too early. This is a tragic loss for the entire legal community, as well as the University of California. Our sincere condolences to Chris Patti's family for this horrible loss.

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