Update: Victorville-area cyclist killed in hit-and-run, 3rd fatal cycling injury in just 24 hours last week

Sometimes I just want to scream.

In the past two days, news has broken about three cycling fatalities in the Southern California Region, each injured in an 18-hour period last week.

This time, it’s the victim of a Victorville hit-and-run who died on Friday, two days after he was run down by a heartless coward and left for dead on the side of the road.

According to the High Desert Daily Press, 27-year old Alabama resident David Epperson was walking his bike on the east side of Ridgecrest Road south of Pebble Beach Drive in Spring Valley Lake, just east of Victorville, around 10:30 pm last Wednesday. A northbound SUV reportedly drifted off the road, striking Epperson and driving off without stopping.

He was airlifted to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in critical condition, where he died on Friday.

Judging by the street view photos, there does not appear to be a shoulder or paved sidewalk alongside the roadway, suggesting that Epperson may have been forced to walk in the street. And suggesting that poor road design may have played a part in his death, as well.

Authorities are looking for an early 1990s Ford SUV with possible front-end damage. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Victorville office of the CHP at 760/241-1186 or 800/78-CRIME (782-7463).

This is the 26th cycling fatality in Southern California since the start of the year, and the fourth in San Bernardino County — and the second rider to die of injuries suffered in San Bernardino County last Wednesday. Epperson is also the 5th cyclist to killed by a hit-and-run driver this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for David Epperson and his loved ones.

Update: According to the High Desert Daily Press, CHP investigators have arrested a suspect in the death of David Epperson. 

An anonymous tip directed officers to a home in Victorville, where they found the damaged car and arrested 26-year old Jason Thomas Scott.

The paper reports that Scott was allegedly drunk at the time of the collision, and has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run. He’s currently being held on $250,000. 

Scott has a history of arrests for DUI, disorderly conduct and assault with a deadly weapon. Yet once again, it wasn’t enough to keep him off the roads, and once again, an innocent person pays the price.

It will be interesting to see how authorities make their case that Scott was intoxicated at the time of the collision, since a full week had passed between the wreck and his arrest — more than enough time for any intoxicants to leave his system, or to argue that any substances remaining in his system were taken after the collision. 

Unless he has confessed to being under the influence, or they have witnesses who can attest that he was drinking heavily or taking drugs, the intoxication enhancement seem to be very difficult — if not impossible  — to prove.

23 comments

  1. karL says:

    Someone with a power assisted mountain bike would of been in the dirt, grade seperated and therefore better in m y book hten a paved shoulder, but for our community stigmatising batteries etc. too routinely.

    This was a pedestrian fatality as you report it- not a bicycling one! The car approached as much faster as he woudl of biked then was walking- those milliseconds maybe what the driver needed to see and avoid him.

    THe death has nothing to do with it being safer to drive a car then bike. It has nothing to do with risks of biking or anything less then grade seperation (actual physcial -as google shows a curb not being used- barriers to simultaneous overlapping usage).

    The numbers are misleading enough without embelishment. I blame predatory pricing of led blinkers- major online even dealers charge $20 for quality models instead of serving the public by providing a gougless model. The penalty for running from an accidnet and not turning yourself in for over a week should be life in prison- but if you turn yourself in only permanent loss of driving priviledges,which if disregared, if ever caught driving again, foreiture of all assets and life in prison both must be required. We want to give those who are unluccky enough to be behind the wheel a lot of time to lobby for change,and putting htem in prison or making them bike, or ride the bus does that. It’s not about ‘punishment’ but rather having at least someone with time and motivation push the facts till they matter.

    • Deborah says:

      David was my son. And had biked his entire life. He did not have a fancy bike. But he got off his bike to walk it with his friend that did not have a bike. Bikes and pedestrians have the right away. This was a well lit area. David actually raced his bike and made it to the nationals there in California outside of Apple valley at age 14. I too believe life in prison would be good but true justice may or may not be done for the life of my son. He will be missed. Life will never be the same. No mother should ever have to bury her child. Adult child or not.

      • Praying for you and your family says:

        I completely understand what you’re saying. I am so deeply sorry for your loss and I will continue to pray for you and your family. I am a close friend of Jason’s and I know that if he were to do something like this, he would have stopped and saved your sons life, even if he was at fault. It is not in his character to leave someone for dead and have to live the rest of his life with a guilty conscious. Please stop wasting your time trying to prosecute an innocent man when you could be looking for the true suspect. Again, I know nothing will ever make up for the fact that your son is no longer with you anymore, but please try and think about the bigger picture….prosecuting an innocent man will NEVER bring you the justice you need. Continue to look for the TRUE suspect.

        • bikinginla says:

          I understand that you don’t want to believe your friend is guilty. However, considering that police found the damaged car at his home, the evidence would appear to suggest otherwise.

        • Deborah says:

          How dare you contact me. Go to HELL and leave me alone. This is a site for bikers and their families not for you. Oh and if CHP didn’t have enough your friend wouldn’t be in there. I don’t live there. Or are you to stupid to know this. And I don’t prosecute the D.A. does or do you not know this either.

  2. karL says:

    Yes all three deaths involved people not riding or possibly not biking related. All we really know is that they did not die in there car, or at home, or at work.

    Helmets etc. create a perception of danger that keeps people in cars- and reporting these tragedies as cycling related does that as well, and serves not e venthose who think teh deaths are too high as it robs the statistics of credibility.

    I personally actually feel far safer on abike then on foot, and either of the other cyclists might of died of not biking earlier inthere lives hadthey not biked.

    In AZ the supreme court just declared that transit users should not be insured against injury by the bus operators- unlike say passengers in cars that are covered by mandatory policies or un/under-insured polices routinely available and used. Not having affordable, in CA after all municipal pools exist, liability etc. coverage for biking deneis us advocacy.

    These people who have died would not want there deaths to have people avoid biking. They would want us to learn what we could- to study, meditate, listen. It maybe that riding on public streets after age 50 should require a special permit/license, or something apparenlty as offensive as that. It maybe that ‘road’ bikes should not be allowed, or minimum speed limits be imposed for all road users. The issue is what is your ambition- mine is to get us rational- to make ‘car-ing’ as shameful as it’s carnage should have it be. Roads are expensive enough, overbuilt enough, because more people drive cars alone then bike- i f it was the other way around the streets in detroiot would look congested to those in Los angeles. Without ice and snow cars should be left at home unless your leaving for days or something.

    • bikinginla says:

      Actually, of the three recent deaths, one was riding a bike when she fell, one was found lying next to his bike, suggesting he’d fallen off it, and one was walking his bike. Does someone cease to be a bike rider if he or she gets off it? All three are clearly bike-related fatalities; to insist otherwise is to split hairs to a microscopic level.

      • I completely agree. How ridiculous that you even had to post this reply. The issue at hand is the negligence of drivers and the illegality of their actions which result in the loss of human life.

      • KARL says:

        the hypertechnical distinction you concede or not to was made by me only because at least one of them has me answer your question, just now seen, affirmatively, that when someone dies of natural causes despite the exercise etc. of having ridden a bike recently or even I hope you as well agree while on a bike, if they would of still died, or more likely died earlier had they not so exercised, it’s not what people expect reading the headline.

        At Arlington the bugle plays nearly continously- but rarely is someone more then a veteran- most die after there service not during. I do not think that many who bike are killed because they bike and yet most people think that the recent first time out death is other than an anomoly. That being said there are things you can do to increase the chances of killing someone- chief among them is driving at all when it’s not necessary. Those who drive and get uppity about someone else killing someone, someone who may not of been drunk- with of course MOST people driving at times under some influence comparable to booze if ‘only’ fatigue etc. (routinely we do, but also it’s also true that most people have at least once inbibed some and driven TOO much if likewise only ‘once.’)
        Lightning strikes, people drive without shame, without us imposing sufficient Stigma. Incomplete roads- roads malnourished, roads useless for people because only cars are welcome or under existing law prudently used from a selfish perpsective, are for more culpable then any individual driver noted here. I’d even consider someone who sets out to kill somoeone our problem in part- we let them on the road without requiring they have any decent reason to be there, and of course the best reason to be on the road is to displace someone from abusing it with a SUV or old car etc., and if you try that, parked or not, you can get cracked down on by the state at ostensibly, and too only that, our behalf. The industry has had there billions thumbing the scales of justice and development for far too long and continue by being the first adopters of technology rotting on it’s vine that could of served us and -truly served- obsolete ‘them’ the corporations that put our children behind the wheels that crush, paralyse, disembowel, our other children, because it is profitable for them to do so despite it being increasingly apparent to anyone that is ‘willing’ to know this is going on.
        I write this where people who have held the deceased, known them, loved them, are hurting deeply in there absence, might see it, because if not them, who, who will set us free,will have the motivation to curtail the madness. It begins with sacrifice- saying no to driving. Getting laws passed that make it as horrific to enquire about how one is planning to get to work as to ask an applicants orientation, or age even, for example. Making toilets as optional for an office as showers- making restricting parking spaces to one car instead of box always there that many can share to keep there vehicles safe and allow them to be half as expensive to manufacture- to have carbon foam or whatever it is you get for dropping seven grand nowadays on one faster, nobler, better in every way then biking in general has yet embraced.
        The fault is in the way we move our bodies around. Again routinely wiothout shame, on major roads that school kids travel dealers abound! Owners of establishments that market cars appear on TV, even in public, and rarely get spit on etc. How is this so?

      • Deborah says:

        David was my son and was walking his bike as his friend had no bike. He biked his entire life. He raced his bike at age 14 and made it to the nationals. He raced right outside of Apple Valley. He would not want anyone to give up biking. He truly did love it. I have pictures of him with his bike. Now we seek Justice for the death of my son.

        • karL says:

          It is good to seek justice and best to seek the highest form of justice so I encourage you to proceed with an open mind that does not deny restoration of what can be restored but rather cycles lessons learned into betterment for all as all benefit more so for not throwing anyone overboard especially when truth be told there but for accident of birth would of gone most if not any of us.

          A week ago I entertained an octogenarian who lost a 3rd child of hers recently and asked her, in my livingroom, about what your experience is like and she did acknowledge that you could emphasize with her as she had been at first shocked and then delighted that when after the first I think she needed help and went to professionals only to find a nun with a degree who helped her greatly. Now she has left the home she had given to her last son to die so far for nearly two years vacant and another son was working on it as we spoke finally as must be done eventually even though she will make good on her promise to never return.

          I watched a advertiser supported broacast of “saving private ryan” and if you have not seen it encourage you to, especially the early scene showing the president persuading a general who would not of changed his mind about at least trying to preserve the one remaining son of a mother not needing to require another letter no better then the dismal one our most eloquent first president had drafted.

          This letter passed down across centuries was clearly the current WWII presidents most cherised possession. I have not watchd much of the rest of the movie but am glad ot have seen at least this much and tobe able to share itwith you.

          no greater ally, ‘perhaps’, in stopping other mothers from having to go trhough what you are now only beginning to experience stands waiting for our hand in partnership then whoever happened ot be driving the car ‘who’ killed your son.

          The two of you are bonded forever in a very different way then your son- but I have met the woman who I brought my stepfather to meet after she forgave her sons killer and met with him and gives present publications with him if she still lives to this day I bet. No one is asking you to do the same. But permit me to offer if you dare that some of us can find higher calling then merely contionuing to risk our lives riding unchecked unchanged by youru families forced sacrifice. I stand to risk my life speaking truth about how it WAS not necessary WAS not an accident BUT WAS NOT JUST THE DRIVERS FAULT EITHER NOT MERELY NOT YOUR SONS FAULT AT ALL.

          People profit for mothers like yours losses. It is them against whom justice, legal, nonviolent, and consumately civilly christian etc. I seek.

          • karL says:

            Pardon me I clearly meant: “People profit fr..OM mothers like your’s losses. It is them against whom justice, legal, nonviolent, and consumately civilly christian etc. I seek.

            • karL says:

              also I meant not first president but Civil War president I guess. (for some of us that was as much when we became a nation as when we only declared our independence from that other still English speaking one)

        • bikinginla says:

          Deborah, I’m so sorry for your loss. Please know that you and David are in my prayers. If you have any photos you’d like to share, I’ll be happy to add them to this post; I think it’s important that we know fallen riders like David for the people they were, not merely statistics. You can find my email address on the About BikingInLA page.

          • Deborah says:

            You can view my pictures of David on my facebook page. Deborah S. Epperson in Athens, Alabama. Just send a friend request. Thank you for your prayers as at this time I need all I can get. My son was LOVED very dearly and I can’t imagine my life without him. Thank you Deborah Epperson

  3. bikinginla says:

    Ryan, that sounds like a threat. Do I need to remind you that it is against the law to threaten someone, whether in person or over the internet?

    Do I really need to forward your email address and Facebook page to the police?

    And maybe you should read this piece again. Nowhere does it even begin to suggest that Epperson was at fault in any way; I clearly state that he was merely walking at the side of the road when he was run down from behind by an allegedly intoxicated driver.

    I only question how the DA will be able to make their case for DUI, given the time that passed between the collision and the Scott’s arrest. But I certainly hope they can.

    • Praying for you and your family says:

      All alcohol charges have been completely dropped. There’s no way to prove that when Scott wasn’t even taken into custody until one week later. If everyone would do their homework and quit it with these false accusations, you would all get a lot further in this case.

      • bikinginla says:

        The references to DUI came from what was reported in the press, and that was based the facts available at the time. The fact is that Scott was initially charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. If, as you say, the alcohol-related charges have been dropped, it does not make anything written here false; it simply means prosecutors were not able to prove that charge. And you may note that I said above that I thought they would have a hard time making it stick.

        If you can offer proof that he was never arrested for or charged with being intoxicated at the time of the crime, then I will gladly remove any reference that. Otherwise, the only false accusation here is yours.

    • bikinginla says:

      To Ryan Nichols:

      “I hope someone kicks your ass if they haven’t already.” Yes, I’d call that a threat, as would any rational person.

      My standard policy is to ban threats or personal attacks. I’ve allowed your initial comment to stand, but since you’ve come back again with the same insults and attitude, your comments have been removed.

  4. don says:

    they wont be able to charge him with DUI, there is no proof. too much time has passed. It will be vehicular manslaughter. RIP david, prayers with your family.

  5. Aj lee says:

    I want to run for mayor of victorville im aj lee

  6. Deborah says:

    The Hit and run was my son. I too believe only a coward would leave someone the road way to die!. My life will never be the same. I miss my son so much. It is hard to go on with out him in my life.

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