Man accused in hit-run death of Penngrove cyclist faces more charges

Prosecutors filed misdemeanor manslaughter charges Tuesday against a Rohnert Park man accused of plowing his truck into a retired Sonoma State University professor on his bicycle last June.

The allegation against Robert Ernest Cowart, 69, comes in addition to a charge of felony hit-and-run in the death of environmental studies professor Steve Norwick.

Prosecutor Troye Shaffer added the charge after a review of Cowart's medical records. She would not say what in the records triggered the new criminal count, citing patient confidentiality laws.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Cook said only that it was appropriate in light of the evidence.

However, Cowart's lawyers have said their client suffered a stroke at some point and may have had an aneurysm that impeded blood flow to his brain.

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