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Alleged driver ordered to stand trial in German bicyclist's death

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The Oakland man accused of boozing at a posh San Francisco restaurant before killing a German cyclist with a Mercedez Benz last year – and trying to cover up the crash by switching seats with his girlfriend – has been ordered to stand trial in the case.

Joshua Calder, 37, was driving south on Masonic Avenue near Turk Street when he allegedly struck 21-year-old Nils Linke on Aug. 13.

Calder allegedly fled the scene but was found about two blocks away after witnesses gave police a description of the vehicle.

Prior to the crash, Calder was enjoying a booze-soaked dinner with his girlfriend at Kokkari restaurant at 200 Jackson St., according to court documents. The meal included two bottles of wine, shots of liquor and after-dinner drinks, investigators said.

Calder has pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run and driving under the influence.

During a preliminary hearing Wednesday, Calder’s defense attorney Daniel Barton admitted that his client had been drinking before the crash but denied that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit.

Assistant District Attorney Todd Barrett countered that Calder had the equivalent of seven alcoholic drinks in his system, as well as THC from smoking marijuana.

Barrett alleged that Calder had been speeding and had swerved in the road prior to striking Linke, but Barton said that there is insufficient evidence that Calder had been driving negligently prior to the accident.

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam ordered Calder to stand trial on all of the charges, noting that police investigators found no skid marks on the road that would indicate that he was driving safely and tried to stop before striking Linke.

Calder will return to court on Sept. 1 to be formally arraigned on the charges.

Authorities said witnesses reported seeing Calder smash into the back of Linke and his bicycle. They said Calder then got out of the driver’s seat, moved the bike to the side of the road, then switched seats with his girlfriend before fleeing the scene.

Soon after his arrest, Calder posted the $500,000 bail.

Wire services contributed to this report.