9-Year old cyclist killed in Anaheim

In yet another heartbreaking incident in a very bad week for SoCal cyclists, a 9-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in Anaheim Thursday afternoon.

In what Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez called “just an ugly, ugly accident,” the child — who has not been publicly identified — was riding home from school on the sidewalk when he was struck.

According to the Orange County Register, he stopped his bike at the intersection of W. Orangewood Avenue and Loara Street and waited to cross; when the driver of a raised Ford pickup truck stopped at the intersection, he rode his bike out into the crosswalk. At the same time, the driver pulled forward, striking the boy.

According to the driver, he never saw the boy, and he was not cited by police. Evidently, California drivers are no longer required to be cautious, alert and aware of their surroundings when behind the wheel.

I’m sure the driver is devastated. Lord knows I would be.

But somehow, I don’t think “Oops” should be a universal Get Out Of Jail Free card for someone who kills another human being. Especially not an innocent child who, by all accounts, was riding in a safe and legal manner.

My heart and prayers go out to his family.

UPDATE: KCBS Channel 2 quotes Sgt. Martinez as saying “We’ve been talking to the driver and there’s no indication that he did anything wrong or illegal.”

The report says the driver was not able to see the cyclist directly in front of him due to the height of the truck. So, a driver can operate an unsafe vehicle — which may or may not be legal, yet which by its very design prevents him from seeing something directly in front of him — and the police are just fine with that.

Am I the only one who’s stomach is turning right now?

And it’s not just cyclists. This has been a very bad week for anyone on the streets not protected by steel and glass.

UPDATE 2: The OC Register has identified the cyclist as Nicholas Vela, a 4th grade student at Alexander J. Stoddard Elementary School.

14 comments

  1. Digital Dame says:

    Oh Jesus, Mary and Joseph (and that from an atheist).

    Maybe they need to outlaw those jacked-up rigs that these yahoos love so much if they can’t even see what’s going on around them.

    Eye contact isn’t even a guarantee that they see you. “Situational blindness” is the latest thing they’ve come up with to explain distracted drivers whose minds are a million miles away from the vehicle they’re operating.

    It’s just sickening that the driver wasn’t even cited.

  2. Bruce says:

    Not to minimize the incident, big rig tucks and utility vehicle are very tall in height, and yes the drivers need to be cautious no matter what type of vehicle we drive. I too am an avid cyclist and know how inconsiderate and unaware drivers can be. Maybe like the Cal Trans warnings we need to make people aware by mass media give us a break.

  3. Wow. The child was crossing at a crosswalk, the driver ran him over, and… nothing? Just wow.

  4. BB says:

    So the truck wasn’t stopped far enough back is what they are saying. Whether by design or driver.

  5. Jeff Wells says:

    This web site is called “BikingInLA, A two wheeled guide to the streets of Los Angeles.” An article about the happenings in Anaheim, California does not belong on this web site; Anaheim isn’t even in Los Angeles, County.

    • bikinginla says:

      Sorry, Jeff, but this is first and foremost a blog about bicycling, and a tragedy like this in a neighboring city most definitely belongs here. Then again, I’ve also written about events in Larimer County, CO, Baltimore and the UK, as well as touching on such non-biking related matters as parking meters and the Iditarod Sled Dog race.

      But the overwhelming majority of posts on here cover bicycling in Los Angeles and the greater L.A. area. So if your interests don’t extend past the county border, come back another day and you should be happier.

    • TheTricksterNZ says:

      Hell, he’s even commented on happenings down in my part of the world, possibly because apparently I’m acting as his ‘kiwi correspondent’.

      Re the incident/mishap/any other word apart from ‘accident’ – all I can say is while we have SUV’s here, most of our pickup trucks (or utes as we call them here, short for utility vehicles) are generally built on car size chassis rather than SUV height or higher.

      Finally, condolenses to the family.

    • Wes says:

      Really!? I think its up to the owner of the site what he puts on his own blog. Also, while Anaheim is not in LA County, it is part of the Los Angeles metro area. Not that it even matters because Ted can put whatever he likes on his own site.

  6. MTS says:

    So the driver positioned his vehicle such that he couldn’t see a child in the crosswalk in front of him and the police don’t see ANYTHING wrong with that? I guarantee you that the driver isn’t devastated nearly enough.

  7. Chris says:

    I wrote the Anaheim PD via their website to ask if they are at least doing something about the vehicle, and if not, to explain how exactly that vehicle is within the legal limits. I saw the footage on the news, and that truck was excessively large.

  8. Jared says:

    This incident really disgusts me. I’ve been looking at this intersection in Street View and looked at the accident photos online and don’t see how this guy isn’t being cited for anything. He’s raised his truck aftermarket, and while it’s legal to drive a truck like that, you should have to be even more of your surroundings since your actions to look cool with your friends added major blind spots around your truck.

    Couldn’t he be charged with involuntary manslaughter for this? I really don’t even know what to say. I’m still just so pissed off about this.

    Here’s a link to a photo of the driver and his trick out whip. http://images.onset.freedom.com/ocregister/gallery/ku50ur-ku50t203.bikecrash.1203.js.jpg

  9. jlyle says:

    Let me get this straight – Tiger Woods hits a tree & fire hydrant and gets a ticket. This moron in
    Anaheim runs over, kills a child in a crosswalk, and the police don’t cite him? Is that right? What ever happened to “duty of care.”

  10. [...] December 2009: Monster Truck vs 9 year old in the crosswalk. [...]

  11. captainkickstand says:

    The image Jared posted says it all . . . monster truck parked in the bike lane? I read this story after Cyclelicious linked to it and it’s heartbreaking.

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