Fatal hit-and-run in San Bernardino

A 19-year old cyclist was killed last night, and his brother critically injured, in a hit-and-run collision on 40th Street near Acre Lane in San Bernardino.

According to the Times, Joseph Meeks was sharing a bike with his younger brother when they cut across the roadway and were struck by a white 2000 or older Pontiac or Chrysler car, which should have front-end damage in the license plate area and possibly the windshield. Witnesses say the driver made no attempt to stop; KABC Channel 7 reports that Meeks’ friends watched as he died in the street.

Anyone with information about this crime — and yes, a hit-and-run resulting in death or serious injury is a felony — should call the San Bernardino Police Department Traffic Division at 909/385-5735.

How many more people have to die before we do something about the hit-an-run epidemic in California?

Update: The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that the younger victim was Meeks’ 15-year old stepbrother, who suffered critical head injuries, as well as other blunt force trauma; witnesses report he was conscious but having a hard time breathing after the collision.

They were apparently on their way home after buying some snacks at a nearby liquor store when they were struck by a car traveling east on 40th street at approximately 40 mph, throwing them about 60 to 80 feet; the driver fled the scene without stopping.

6 comments

  1. Tony says:

    Not sure this is a good one for a campaign against hit and runs. From your description of the cyclists cutting across the roadway it sounds as if they may have caused the accident. For the driver to run afterwards is not excusable but we should be careful to separate out responsibility for the accident from the subsequent running.

    • bikinginla says:

      I understand your comment Tony, but I have to disagree. It does sound like the riders may have been at least partly responsible for the collision. So far, no one has publicly disputed the official report that they turned into the path of a fast-moving car, despite the fact that their friends were witnesses — although it’s always possible that the driver was speeding or came around a corner in some way that would have prevented the riders from knowing he was there until it was too late.

      However, none of that excuses the driver’s responsibility to stop afterwards. In this case, he or she would probably have been cleared of responsibility for the collision; instead, the driver is now a wanted criminal — and deservedly so.

    • courtney says:

      Just becuase the kids turned into traffic, does not throw this out as an invalid cause for holding others accountable for hit and runs. It was a hit and run, period.
      My husband and I were on scene first and it disgusts me to see these poor boys injury and death not be enough to carry room for cause with it. They didn’t see the oncoming vehicle, and yes it was a fatal mistake, but the driver needs to take responsibility for their mistake as well.
      My heart broke as I saw a life end, and a younger life struggling to continue! Lives were changed and our society would do good to acknowledge that fact by at least a small change in someway!
      People would do and talk different if it was their own lives…. disappointingly selfish if u ask me.

      • bikinginla says:

        I’m so sorry you had to see that, Courtney — it must have been devastating. My prayers go out to you and your husband, as well as Joseph Meeks, his step-brother and loved ones.

        All I can ask is that we do what we can to make sure the driver is held accountable. And that we insist that our elected officials change the laws to make sure that fleeing the scene is no longer an option for anyone.

  2. Digital Dame says:

    It shouldn’t surprise me, but it still does, that there are that many people who will leave someone to die in the street like that.

  3. Tony says:

    Courtney,

    Witnessing that and helping must have been a traumatic experience for you. I agree that the driver’s running is inexcusable but if he had stopped we would have instead by all accounts a tragic case of two boys who swerved in front of a car and were hit and killed through no fault of the driver. I disagree that “driver needs to take responsibility for *their* mistake” when its not clear at all that they made any mistake other than fleeing the scene. Its convenient to blame the driver and all too often it is justified but sometimes they are not and we should acknowledge when that is the case and not try to blame them for everything irrespective of the cyclist’s actions.

    I think we are best attaching our campaigns only to cases where it is clear that the behaviour of the driver caused the death or injury which is what we are trying to stop. What happens after is of less importance unless it is an attempt to avoid prosecution. Otherwise we become no better than Dr Thompson in trying to blame the other side irrespective of the reality.

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