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Ex-deputy apologizes for fatal crash
Henry K. Lee, Chronicle Staff Writer

Thursday, June 25, 2009

(06-25) 17:18 PDT SAN JOSE --

A former Santa Clara County sheriff's deputy tearfully apologized in court today before being sentenced to four months in jail and 800 hours of community service for hitting and killing two bicyclists in Cupertino last year when he fell asleep at the wheel of his cruiser.

James Council, 28, repeatedly sniffed and paused to control his emotion as he described how "not a day goes by" that he doesn't think about the March 9, 2008, crash that killed Matt Peterson, 29, of San Francisco and Kristy Gough, 30, of San Leandro.

"I take full responsibility for this tragic accident, and know that there's nothing I could ever say or do to replace their loss," Council said. "Truly and from the bottom of my heart, I'm sorry."

Council's made his statement, the first public comments since the crash, in a San Jose courtroom packed with family and friends of the dead cyclists. Some of them excoriated him moments earlier, saying the sentence was too light and that he had received special treatment.

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