Just 10 days into the new year, we’ve already had our second cycling fatality.
According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, 61-year old San Bernardino resident Bernard F. Culbertson was hit by a vehicle driven by an unlicensed driver while riding at 5:31 Monday morning, and died of his injuries nearly 22 hours later.
Culbertson was reportedly riding without lights an hour before sunrise when he crossed North Waterman Ave headed west on Third Street, and was hit by a car driven by Benito Bustos-Gonzalez of Fontana.
Police report that Bustos-Gonzalez had the green light, suggesting that Culbertson ran the red light; however, there is no indication whether that was observed by independent witnesses or reported by the driver.
It’s a common problem in bike collisions that the victim is killed or incapacitated, and unable to give police their version of events. As a result, barring other witnesses, police are often forced to rely on statements given by the drivers involved, who have an incentive to cast events in the most favorable light.
The paper reports that investigators have not indicated if Bustos-Gonzalez will be charged or ticketed, but notes that jail records show no indication of an arrest.
This is the second fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the first in San Bernardino County.
The Ventura County Star reports that Shannon Richard was sentenced to 270 days in county jail and three years probation for the hit-and-run death of Jose Louis Carmona last year.
That’s significantly less than the two yeas the D.A. had asked for, or even the one year prison and five years probation the probation department had recommended.
Richard hit and killed Carmona as he was walking his bike along PCH near Faria Beach Road; she was arrested at her home after fleeing the scene, reportedly telling police she thought she hit an animal.
Of course, hitting an animal isn’t likely to explain why she felt the need immediately begin drinking again as soon as she returned home, muddying the results of the blood alcohol test after she had admitted drinking a few beers before driving home.
Pro tip: begin drinking as soon as possible following a collision so police won’t be able to establish what your BAC was at the time of the collision.
On the other hand, Carmona was wearing dark clothes with no lights on his bike, with a BAC of .20, and may — or may not — have been walking in the traffic lane at the time of the fatal collision.
Our anonymous OC/South Bay court case reporter writes that the arraignment for Danae Miller in the death of world-class tri-athlete Amine Britel has been pushed back until February 27.
That’s almost exactly one year after Miller ran Britel down while he was riding in a Newport Beach bike lane in allegedly drunken/distracted collision.
That same anonymous source also notes that the “private jail” where Adam Garrett has been allowed to serve his 180 day sentence for the hit-and-run death of Hung Khac Do — when he’s not out for work, school or church — is actually a halfway house in a converted apartment building.
And he’s not actually incarcerated yet, as the judge generously gave him until April 10th to begin his sentence, so he could wait until a spot opens up for him.
And that 180 days actually turns out to be just 90, since the judge generously stayed half of it. And if Garrett keeps his nose clean for just one full year, his felony conviction will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Slap, meet wrist.
No wonder people continue to die on our streets, and drivers continue to ignore the legal requirement to stop at the scene of a collision, when we can’t even get the courts to take it seriously when an innocent person gets killed.
She also notes that five of the 50 organ donors featured on the Donate Life float in the recent Rose Parade were killed while bicycling. That’s not to say cycling is dangerous; you could just as easily die sitting on your sofa as on your bike.
But no one gets out of this world alive.
And however I go, I want some good to come out of it.
LAist reports that a driver has been arrested on hit-and-run charges after hitting a cyclist in Monrovia last night. Jason Travers allegedly fled after hitting the victim from behind at Violet Ave and Foothill Blvd around 6 pm.
Fortunately, the rider was not seriously injured.
A Colorado driver has been sentenced to eight-years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run — despite beating a DUI charge for the same incident.
Maybe someday California courts will take hit-and-run cases that seriously.
Who knew we are responsible for global warming by forcing speeding drivers to actually slow down for a few seconds?