After Marco Valencia plowed into a group of cyclists on Bouquet Canyon Road last July, he wanted a Sheriff’s Deputy to kill him.
The local Santa Clarita Valley newspaper quotes L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeffrey Burrow as testifying that “He told me to shoot him, that his life was over.”
Unfortunately for the riders he hit, the request came a little too late.
By the time Valencia was apprehended after a short chase, Joseph Novotny already lay dead or dying and four other cyclists were injured, two seriously.
L.A. County Deputy District Attorney John Allen Ramseyer accused Valencia of exhibiting a “willful, wanton disregard for human life.” According to Ramseyer, he had a blood alcohol level of .18 — over twice the legal limit of .08 — as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of his arrest.
Despite being under age at the time of his arrest, Valencia already had two prior DUI convictions when he appeared before Superior Court Judge Harvey Giss at the San Fernando Courthouse on Thursday. According to the Signal, Giss determined that there was enough evidence to try Valencia on “13 criminal counts, including murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, hit-and-run and several DUI charges.”
Giss set bail at $1.3 million, with Valencia’s next court appearance scheduled for Christmas Eve.
Somehow, I don’t think he’ll find anything good in his stocking this year — or for the next few decades, for that matter.
And Novotny’s family will have an empty seat at their holiday table this year.
And every year that follows.
A reminder that cyclists aren’t the only vulnerable street users at risk from hit-and-run drivers. Miguel Penayo tried to escape from the scene of a traffic collision in Bell last night after apparently feeling threatened by a group of men, driving directly at them and striking one man. He then struck and killed another man who was leaving a Starbucks — an innocent victim who had nothing to do with the preceding incident — dragging his body beneath the car for “some distance,” according to L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
For all you Dutch bike and cargo bike fans, Flying Pigeon will soon stock Nihola Cigar Cargo Bikes. Streetsblog offers a bike-focused calendar for the upcoming week. The new plan for the Whittier Narrows calls for more bikeways and bike friendly streets. Stunt cyclist Danny Makaskill demonstrates the skills you need to navigate rush hour traffic in Los Angeles. Charleston, SC looks to calm the conflict between cyclists and drivers. The New York Times magazine endorses the bicycle highway. Missouri considers building a hanging bike bridge over the Mississippi River. Philadelphia cyclists declare victory over the city’s first experiment with a road diet. Among the reasons not to bike to work, you could die — of course, the same argument could be made for not getting out of bed in the morning. Cheap helmets help, but fit matters, too. With the rise in cycling, expect bad press to get worse before it gets better. A UK “thug” is sentenced for killing a man in an argument over borrowing his bike. Apparently, drunk cycling is legal in New Zealand, but I wouldn’t count on it. Philippines cyclists ride for women’s rights. A Brit TV host had his “willy cut ‘half off’” in a childhood biking accident. The rash of bike thefts spreads to Oxford — yet somehow, becomes a reason to crack down on reckless riders. After 75 years, the debate over UK bike lanes goes on…and on…and on… Finally, an OP piece in car-centric L.A.’s leading paper calls on Angelenos to change their thinking and not view streets as exclusively for cars; it didn’t take long for the usual sniping about “traffic laws are for cyclists, too,” to start. Or for someone to suggest it’s all a commie plot.