An Orange County cyclist was killed in Huntington Beach last night as a result of a hit-and-run.
According to the Orange County Register, 69-year old Jurgen Ankenbrand was hit by two separate vehicles at the intersection of Brookhurst Street and Villa Pacific Drive at about 5:35 Wednesday evening. The first occurred when he was turning from Villa Pacific onto Brookhurst and was struck by a dark colored Toyota 4-Runner on his right as it made a left turn onto northbound Brookhurst.
That knocked Ankenbrand onto the southbound side of Brookhurst, where he was struck and killed by a white Honda Odyssey. He was pronounced dead at the scene; by my count, the 16th cycling death in Southern California since August.
The driver of the 4-Runner fled the scene; the driver in the Odyssey remained.
Reading between the lines, there appear to be three likely explanations for how this collision may have happened.
The driver of the 4-Runner may have been either signaling for a right turn or angling over as if he was turning right, causing Ankenbrand to pass on his left when the driver changed his mind and made a sudden left turn without checking his mirror or looking to his left.
The 4-Runner could have been stopped, either in the lane or at the curb, and Ankenbrand may have been attempting to go around it when the driver suddenly pulled forward to make a left.
I’ve seen both happen enough times that neither would come as a surprise.
The third possibility is that Ankenbrand was making a left onto Brookhurst when the driver of the 4-Runner came up from behind and made his left without noticing that the cyclist was already in position ahead of him. This wreck occurred about the same time as the severe thunderstorms rolled through Orange County, so the driver’s vision may have been impaired by the weather conditions.
We may never know, since the driver ran away, rather than obey the law and face the consequences of his actions. And he — or she — could now face a felony hit-and-run charge, when he may or may not have been at fault in the collision.
Witnesses are urges to contact the Huntington Beach police at 714-536-5666.
Thanks to Allan Alessio for the tip.