COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The suburban driver who hit and killed bicyclist Bobby Cann while driving drunk in Lincoln Park in 2013 pleaded guilty Thursday in exchange for 10 days in jail and four years of probation.
Ryne San Hamel, 32, had faced years in prison if convicted at trial, but instead took a deal hammered out between his prominent defense attorney, Sam Adam Jr., and prosecutors and Judge William H. Hooks. Hamel was taken into custody Thursday to serve his time.
Prosecutors had sought three to 14 years in prison. The judge said Cann's death was a great loss, but he believes San Hamel feels genuine remorse.
"I wish I could change everything that happened, but I can't," San Hamel said as tears streamed down his face. "I just hope that you can feel some kind of remorse for me or forgiveness in your heart. ... I live with that moment every day, every minute, every time I lay down and try to sleep."
He pleaded guilty to reckless homicide and aggravated DUI causing death. In addition to probation, San Hamel must pay Cann's funeral expenses, pegged at $25,000.
Before announcing the sentence, Hooks said he took San Hamel's remorse into account.
"If I have somebody that gets it and is remorseful — and even though there's a cry for retribution — I have to weigh what Ryne San Hamel needs," the judge said, noting that some cases merit lengthy prison sentences if defendants are a danger to society.
"This is not one of those cases," the judge said.
San Hamel, of suburban Park Ridge, was out celebrating a Cubs win May 29, 2013, when he fatally struck Cann with his Mercedes Benz about 6:35 p.m. near Clybourn Avenue and Larrabee Street.
San Hamel's blood-alcohol content was .15 at the time, prosecutors said, and he was driving at least 50 to 60 mph in the 30-mph zone. According to his LinkedIn profile, San Hamel was a partner in a business called AllYouCanDrink.com at the time.
Cann, an experienced cyclist who once biked from New Hampshire to Chicago, was heading home from his job at Groupon the night he was killed. Prosecutors in court Thursday said Cann had biked through a red light when he was hit.
San Hamel had the green light, prosecutors noted, but was speeding in addition to being drunk.
In court Thursday, San Hamel said he tried to help Cann after the crash by "cupping blood out of his mouth" while a nurse applied a tourniquet to Cann's mangled leg. San Hamel held Cann's hand, he said, and remembers "just praying for him to come back."
Cann's mother, Maria Cann, addressed the judge Thursday: "It's not possible to accurately describe this kind of loss unless you've lived it. I can be overcome by grief at any time for the smallest reasons."
Cann's girlfriend, Catherine Bullard, described Cann as an avid cyclist who enjoyed to garden and took "piercingly beautiful" photos. She said she'd been looking forward to spending the rest of her life with Cann.
"I was so honored to share his life with him," Bullard said. "I felt I had gotten the much better end of a remarkably good deal."
Cann was a cycling advocate who regularly participated in Critical Mass, an organized effort in which cyclists band together and ride in order to "take back the streets" the last Friday of every month.
San Hamel "spoke about waking up each morning and feeling remorse," Cann's uncle Bruce Field said after court Thursday. "I hope that that means every morning he wakes up and says, 'Now my job is to work very hard to make this world a better place."
San Hamel was previously charged in 2003 with consuming alcohol as a minor, but that case was later dropped, court records show. He was cited with failing to stay in his lane in the same incident and sentenced to four months of court supervision.
To read more on the case:
A ghost bike honoring Bobby Cann.