Driver pleads not guilty to manslaughter

A man accused of accidentally killing a bicyclist in Newport Beach pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter last week at the Harbor Justice Center.

Robert Anderson, 84, of Irvine, was driving west on East Coast Highway, just east of Newport Coast Drive, on the afternoon of Aug. 27 when he and the cyclist collided, Newport Beach police said at the time.

The cyclist, Debra Deem, 58, of Laguna Beach, suffered major head trauma, despite wearing a helmet, police said.

Paramedics took her to Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo, where she died the next day.

In the charging document filed against Anderson on Jan. 17, prosecutors say he made an unsafe lane change that caused Deem’s death.

Vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence carries a maximum sentence of one year in county jail. Anderson’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for March 27 in Orange County Superior Court, according to court records.

— Hannah Fry