Update: Breaking news — CHP reports yet another SoCal cyclist killed in solo fall on Mulholland Highway

More bad news for Southern California cyclists.

A CHP transmission reports that yet another bike rider has died on our streets. According to the cryptic message, the coroner has been called to a solo bike wreck on Mulholland Highway at Stunt Road, just outside Stunt Ranch State Park and Red Rock Canyon Park above Malibu.

The first call came in at 9:33 this morning, with the coroner called just after 10 am. The transmission codes (1144, 1019 and 1039) indicate a probably fatality, with rescue personnel instructed to return to the station, followed by confirmation of the call to the coroner’s office.

The satellite image shows a three-way intersection with a stop on Stunt Road, and an uncontrolled intersection on Mulholland.

No other information is available at this time.

This marks the 39th cycling fatality in Southern California so far this year, and the 11th in Los Angeles County. This is also the ninth cyclist to die in a solo collision since the beginning of the year.

And it’s the 10th cycling death in just the last nine days, as the horrible, tragic string of recent cycling fatalities continues for yet another day.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and all his or her family and loved ones.

Update: The L.A. Times reports that the victim, who has not yet been publicly identified, was a black male approximately 40 years old, who died at the scene. A comment to this story says he left behind a wife and children.

The Times puts the time of the collision at 9:20 am, while other sources put it just before 9 am. However, all reports agree that the rider somehow veered of the road and down a ravine.

As always, the question is why. He may have simply lost control or had a mechanical failure, or could have been forced off the road or over reacted to a passing car. 

There’s no indication whether he was riding alone or with a group, or if there were any witnesses to the wreck.

Update 2: The L.A. Daily News has identified the rider as 42-year old Willis Veluz-Abraham of Winnetka. The paper also places the location of the collision as near Stunt Road and Mulholland; a comment places the location on the mid to upper section of Stunt.

Update 3: Starting to get a little more information. In a comment below, Justin Murray identifies the location as a curve near Mile Marker 3 on Stunt Road, and points the finger at newly installed rumble strips in the center of the roadway. If anyone has photos of the location or the rumble strips, please let me know.

While they may seem harmless to motorists, rumble strips can be exceptionally dangerous to cyclists. Someone taking a corner a little to hot could easily drift over the center line and lose control after hitting them. It’s especially dangerous if the strips were newly installed, as Murray suggests, as riders may not have known they were there if the strips had been installed since the last time they’d ridden that road, especially if there were no warning signs pointing to their installation.

Update 4: One of the saddest things about any tragedy like this, to me at least, is that most of us never get to know the person that was taken away from us. Not just the name, or barest details of his or, but who they really were. 

That’s why I’m elevating a couple of the comments that came in this afternoon after Veluz-Abraham was identified as the victim. Maybe they’ll touch you as deeply as they did me — and remind us all just how much is lost when any one of us is taken away needlessly.

From Daniel:

Willis was a co-worker and a friend of mine. Since the first time I met him, he was always friendly and he always had a smile on his face. His wife and him recently had their second child.I had a conversation with him a few days ago and he was mentioning how important it was for him to have quality time with his wife and children. 

Willis was also very active in his Church. He was a graduate of UCLA and he was originally from Northern California. Willis love to eat and he enjoyed trying new foods. Willis and his wife enjoy salsa dancing. 

Everyone at work is crashed that he died this way. I take some comfort that he died while doing something he loved to do and that he live his life to the fullest.

From Fellow Bruin

I’ve known Willis since my college days.  Such a bright light he is/ was to anyone who knew him.  Such a shock and a terrible loss for our entire community.  He and his wife just welcomed their 2nd son into the world in February.  That’s the worst part– he’ll never remember just what a special dad he had.  Willis was no dare-devil.  I don’t know how this could happen- but ride carefully, folks!

Please, take that last part seriously. We may not know exactly how or why he died, but we do know how to avoid the next one.

Ride carefully, ride smart, ride defensively.

There are people who love you, and count on you to come home from your rides.

55 comments

  1. justin murray says:

    terrible

  2. Andrea says:

    yes it is, he died on the scene, a father and husband.

  3. I’m trying to understand how someone could have rode off into a ravine at this intersection. Where is there a ravine?

  4. Odra says:

    Just read in an email discussion that it happened in the middle/upper section of Stunt. Still very sad though!

  5. Kevin M says:

    This man was very dear and close friend. I know the Ride for Silence has already passed, but if any of his cycling buddies in the area are planning some type of memorial ride, please post info so I can get in contact with you.

    • bikinginla says:

      So sorry for your loss, Kevin. Please give my deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

      When you have a moment, we know absolutely nothing about Willis other than his age and where he lived. Anything you could share to give us a feeling for who he was would be appreciated.

      • a friend says:

        Willis was a dear friend of mine as well. He was a great inspiration to many with his uplifting attitude and his overall love for life. In short, he was an incredible man who was loved by all who had the honor and blessing of knowing him. He will surely be greatly missed, but he will live on through his family and his closest friends.

    • KARL says:

      The Ride you refer to was for those who died previous to it occuring- perhaps a special mid year ride or special ride for July 2012 in this area could occur sometime sooner then next year or we can start preparing for a special 2013 Silent ride by making it a fundraising one for mere attendance or otherwise having it get on all the cable news shows and internationally.

      I’ve read the linked county “Road warriors get ready to rumble” below and it appears that prior to publishing it and since nobody read it in the context of it’s admission that this moment was forseeable if not certain.
      From the photo
      http://zev.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/crash-on-mulholland-story1.jpg
      to not just the title but gems like “The move comes at the behest of local homeowners, who for years have sought relief from the rip and roar of the high-performance sports cars and motorcycles that race through the canyons day and night.” arguments of necessity are based upon facts other then those assembled prior to this fatal rumbling.

      Generally individuals who booby trap high theft storage rooms with say a shotgun, and this is otherwise a routine occurence, get charged and convicted with manslaughter and if there is discrepancy in how the work was granted versus it’s actual “behest” in that variance the protection of doing ones duty, from criminal prosecution, is forfeited.

      AN honest grant application would of said
      “the locals are our friends and wealthy and don’t think that just because someone has a fast car or can pedal from many miles should they be not just able to enjoy our views etc. but to use the road recreationally as if it’s public. They do not accept that living next to a road that’s appealing for a variety of uses should have them exposed to more then the sounds of local residents coming and going- residents in some cases who spend lot of money at commercial race tracks. They feel that although the activities they complain about are safe enough couldn’t we claim that if they happen to be checking there mail at the time a race is occuring and the racers happen to lose contro of there high performance vehicles and drift and despite them not having relocated there mail boxes away from the road or gotten a P.O. box if not other safer place to have there mail deliveredis possible that we should expose bikers from in some cases other continents to lethal risk just to bother racers with this sound which might not deter them at all anyway. They though say that even though the sound will be evfen more noticable to residents it will at least deter some of the warriors as clearly it makes it so dangerous to safely take the downhill without wearing out expensive break pads that eventually something will happen that will be scary enough to stop at least some of them even if even if after one dies others will unknowingly take this risk and possibly perish just as needlessly. We do not have the money but are wanting to placate our communty so are filing this applicatioin for funds knowing you have far more needs then you can fill and many applicants do not anticipate far more fatalities of even just poorer then might be otherwise bothered by fun and shenanigans if the don’t get funded then if they do. If indeed it is your policy to only fund projects that reduce injuries and are unwilling to kill anyone regardless of how punkish or immature they might then could you explain that to us as being harassed to do something, anything, for so many years requires that we tell you the truth in filing this, the whole truth, and by doing this we can then say we have done all we can except for things like taking pictures of peoples licens plates, using proceeds to keep people from falling into the canyon even if they slide off the road, netting and such, or that sort none of which satisfies our mobs lust for vengence from too many sports cars some of them have spouses who won’t let them enjoy even at the track anymore.

      We believe that a likely jury will keep us from having to write too big a check and they are arguing that they have the right to use there tax dollars to pay off families this project might kill, it’s there tax dollars, so we are just serving them by sacrificing maybe just one person to quiet down this road at least for a few weeks- or there probably correct they’ll get locals on the jury, conservatives or otherwise unwilling to piss people off doing the right thing so our exposure is not too bad. It’s not avoiding killing people when they are driving that they want, they jsut don’t wnat to be there when it happens, and the rumble strips will operate attimes when there is little local traffic or congestion so they’ll be safe in there homes onl bothered by the sirens able to blame the victims for daring to have fun or commit petty civil infractions in speed, or daring to ride a bike like they see being done for big bucks every year or more often in France just because even at sixty almost no one has ever been hurt on a properly maintained inertially driven (they go faster if they don’t pedal at all but just tuck) until now. WE CAN stop this road from being so safe at high speeds- we have the technology- we just need half a million to reduce enough of there rubber hitting the road so they’ll leave the road for good.”

  6. justin murray says:

    Happened in a turn near milemarker 3. Could be those new rumble strips in the center. I would hate to go wide in a turn at speed and hit them while trying to gather everything up.

  7. Luc says:

    I rode this Hill up and down several times, and hit 40+ many times. Stunt is a 2 lanes road, not that narrow, and I have a hard time understanding how at mile 3, or anywhere along the way you can come across the 2 lanes and plunge in the ravine. I hope CHP can provide answers. My deepest sympathy and condolences to the family and friends.

  8. Daniel says:

    Willis was a co-worker and a friend of mine. Since the first time I met him, he was always friendly and he always had a smile on his face. His wife and him recently had their second child.I had a conversation with him a few days ago and he was mentioning how important it was for him to have quality time with his wife and children.

    Willis was also very active in his Church. He was a graduate of UCLA and he was originally from Northern California. Willis love to eat and he enjoyed trying new foods. Willis and his wife enjoy salsa dancing.

    Everyone at work is crashed that he died this way. I take some comfort that he died while doing something he loved to do and that he live his life to the fullest.

  9. Fellow Bruin says:

    I’ve known Willis since my college days. Such a bright light he is/ was to anyone who knew him. Such a shock and a terrible loss for our entire community. He and his wife just welcomed their 2nd son into the world in February. That’s the worst part– he’ll never remember just what a special dad he had. Willis was no dare-devil. I don’t know how this could happen- but ride carefully, folks!

  10. Kevin M says:

    “Big Will” as many of us new him was a devoted and passionate son, brother, husband, father and friend. He is survived by his wife and two young boys. Everything he did, he did to its full extent, but agree with another poster in that he wasn’t a risk taker. Hopefully there will be some answers, but for now we need to keep Willis and his family in our thoughts and prayers.

  11. Marty says:

    My sympathy to the family and friends of Mr. Veluz-Abraham. He sounds like a great guy and a loving dad and husband.
    Someone mentioned the possiblity of a memoria ride. Was he affiliated with any cycling clubs that could organize such an event and or receive donations, etc on behalf of his family?

    • Kevin M says:

      Marty,

      He spoke of riding with several clubs around his area, though the only one I believe I know of is StreetGliders (?), but I could not find any contact information. I would like to be involved in any type of memorial ride if any of the groups he has been with is planning one… I’d like to draft the wheel of my friend one more time.

      There are many of us, like yourself, that would like to donate on behalf of the family. Sometime over the next few days/weeks when we can decide what the family will want I will absolutely post on here when I have more details.

      Be safe out there people.

      • bikinginla says:

        Kevin, let me know when you get something set up and I’ll feature it here.

      • D says:

        Hello,

        I didnt know Willis very well, but I heard many great things about him. Especially, about him being a cautious rider and overall wonderful man. My boyfriend is actually a member of Streetgliders and rode with him regularly. The day of the accident, I believe it was a group ride. I’ve been in shock since hearing of this, and my heart goes out to his wife and children.

        I can pass on any information to the streetgliders if needed.

        • D says:

          Also, I believe they are discussing a memorial ride for tomorrow morning. It’s not for sure though.

          • Kevin M says:

            Okay, just post info if possible. If I can make it I would enjoy a spin out there…

            • Evan G says:

              Kevin,
              Thank you for your wonderful thoughts of Willis. I am a member of the Street Gliders and rode with Willis that morning along with other SG members. We rode from near his home to the top of Stunt Rd. & met team ROAB. From the top of Stunt Rd., we descended down Stunt as a group. Please let me know how I can get in contact with you.

            • Kevin M says:

              @Evan G you can e-mail me directly at kmejia949@yahoo.com

  12. Maestra says:

    Originally from the Bay Area. Attended El Cerrito High School & graduated in 1988.

    http://www.josephpascuaphoto.com/2010/12/12/san-francisco-east-bay-family-photographe/

  13. LaTanya says:

    I grew up with Willis in Richmond California, we met at Camp Ravencliff while in elementary school. We graduated El Cerrito High School together in 1988. It was a pleasure to know him, he always kept a smile on the faces of those around him. He was married and had two beautiful sons. One is five and the youngest in only 5 months. He was a wonderful friend, husband, father, son and brother. I will miss him dearly…..

  14. Friend of Willis says:

    Thank you all for spending time reading about this man. I’m sure you all have friends who are bigger than life. That was Willis. School President, ULCA grad, the best friend, inclusive of everyone, loved his family, both he and his wife enjoy dancing and studied kung fu in shaolin, China. He didn’t drink or smoke but didn’t care if you did, and someone who with less than two months notice, went from the couch to the top of Mt. Whitney, mostly powered by heart. Out of respect for him, please take care and ride safely.

  15. Ariel Angeles says:

    Willis is the husband of my cousin Lissa. I have been a fan of the man, just for who he was. A great guy with a great heart. A God fearing man who loves his family and friends. I salute you Willis for living the way you did. I will miss your warm hugs whenever I visit LA. You’ll always be in our hearts, ‘love you cuz, Kuya Ariel.

  16. sad day says:

    I happened upon the scene and from what I saw and from what others told me. He was going downhill very fast possibly entered a turn too early and veered out too wide and hit a road reflector/rumble strip and lost control. People told me that there had not been any cars or motorcycles seen in the area. Those new rumble strips are just deadly on that road. Yes, the help cars stay in their lane but if a bicycle hits those while commited to a turn. Its all over. Its not uncommon for cyclists to reach near 50 mph on that section.

    I am very sorry for your loss.

    P.S. later on the same day. A cyclists went wide on a downhill blind turn on Latigo Cyn Rd. and had a head on crash with a car. He was air-vac’ed out and last I heard he was in critical condition.

  17. sad day says:

    The rumble strips are on Piuma, Schuren and Stunt rd now. Even the motorcyclists hate them. They are just as deadly for them too.

    • sad day says:

      Those rumble strips suffer from the “Law of unintended consequences”,,,,,,If proven, Zev’s rumble strips may have just killed a cyclist and if true. The whole bike community should let him know about it. The cyclist family’s attornies should look into possible litigation. As that story says that it’s only a pilot program and it was aimed at motorcycts and car drifters. One thing, motorcyclists on the whole do not cross the double yellows in the canyons because the slick yellow lines and reflectors cause them to crash. Its the car that need it but it doesnt effect them from drifting. Hopefully this pilot program will end and they will repair the road so no more deaths occur.

      • Vic Cooper says:

        Whether they are used on the side of the roadway or on the center stripe:

        Rumble strips = bad idea

        Seriously … what is the purpose of the strip? To discourage people from crossing the center line? Where visibility permits, the law allows and I *want* high speed motorcycles to cross the center line to pass me. But that stripping isn’t just installed around curves … it’s up the entire length of road.

        And around curves where there should be no passing? All the rumble strips do is make the lane-crosser lose control of their vehicle (if they haven’t lost control already). How is that a positive outcome for anyone?

        I’m sorry … I think they’re flippin stupid and dangerous.

  18. sad day says:

    I don’t wish to hurt anyone’s feelings but I havde personally noticed that when ever the Tour De France or another major race is going on. I see an increase in solo-cyclist deaths due to speed and not being able to negotiate downhill turns…Does anyone know if there is any bonifide data on this happening?

    • bikinginla says:

      Let’s not suggest that was what happened in this case, as we have no way of knowing the victim’s state of mind.

      However, I would have to agree that at least some cyclists seem to ride more aggressively when major televised bike races are airing; in fact, I used to do that myself.

  19. Daniel says:

    Willis’ co-workers and friends at Farmers Insurance have established a fund for his Family. Please forward this information to the Biking-Community in Los Angeles who would like to donate.

    You can make donations to The Willis Veluz Abraham Fund
    Wells Fargo Account # 3268012758
    You can also make a check out to either Willis Veluz Abraham Fund Or Melissa Abraham Fund

  20. Jeff says:

    I was riding behind Willis when this happened and it was truly a tragedy. He was an experienced and cautious rider. He was a true family man and great guy to be around. He was really excited about being out riding that day. From what I saw it looked as though the rumble strip in the middle could have been part of the reason he went off.

    Here is the corner, we were going downhill and making a right turn and he went wide and off to the left. There is a deep ravine and some metal beams sticking out of the ground that he struck.

    https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Mulholland+Highway+and+Stunt+Road,+los+angeles,+ca&hl=en&ll=34.085281,-118.657056&spn=0.001226,0.002642&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=41.360684,67.060547&t=h&hnear=Mulholland+Hwy+%26+Stunt+Rd,+Los+Angeles,+California+91302&z=19

    We are planning a memorial ride and I will be the contact person from Street Gliders that will be organizing it. The plans are still being set for a memorial.

    How do I contact the webmaster of this site to help keep everyone informed?

    • bikinginla says:

      You just did. I see every comment that gets posted on here, or you can find my email address on the About page. And thanks for the information.

    • Ted says:

      Thanks Jeff for sharing details, my name is Ted, Willis’s cuz from Chicago. I also ride but we don’t have the hills here as you do there. Sorry you had to witness such a loss of a good friend. Thank You for being there and seeing him to glory. We shall all see him again. Ted

    • Kevin M says:

      Jeff, so glad to hear he was not alone at the time and am thankful you guys were with him. I spoke with him often about the rides he was doing and was looking forward to riding with him again real soon. I know myself and a few other roadies are interested in participating in a memorial ride. If you’d like to contact me directly, I can make sure to get the word out to those interested. kevinm949@yahoo.com

    • Kevin M says:

      Jeff, Evan G

      I see that you guys will be escorting the procession to the cemetary. Would it be possible to join you guys in this honor?

  21. Another sad friend says:

    Willis was not only a co-worker, but a friend. Willis always had a smile on his face, upbeat and positive. Willis was passionate about life and loved people. Always willing to listen or help someone out. In addition to his own family, he had second family with 21st Century/Farmers. We all loved him and miss him very much.

  22. Salsa Music Fan says:

    Does anybody have information yet on where his family is holding his services? If plans have not been finalized it would be great if the information could be posted. Thanks to all. Willis was one in a million.

    • Kevin M says:

      Salsa Music Fan… details will be coming and I will be more than happy to post the information when the plans have been finalized by the family.

      For those requesting an address to send check donations, I have been conferring with the family to see where they would like them to be sent. I will provide this information as soon as it becomes available.

  23. Toby says:

    Yes, Willis was the best. He was head and shoulders above. At once he had charisma and humility. Combined with a love for adventure, a sense of humor and a genuine love of people Willis is a young man who will be missed. I taught him how to ride a bike almost 40 years ago and just recently he showed me his new road bike. It was such a nice piece and just the thing for someone who so loved to ride.

    This tragedy has turned all of our worlds upside down, mine in particular. Now this world is a little less awesome now that he’s gone.

    I’ll have a silent ride for him. Willis is my younger brother.

    • Kevin M says:

      Toby, my condolences to you and your entire family. I was blessed to have crossed paths with him and my life will be forever enriched by his presence in my life.

    • bikinginla says:

      Toby, please accept my deepest sympathy for you and your family. If it’s any consolation, Willis is in my prayers, as well as those of countless others — many of whom, like myself, never had the privilege of meeting him.

  24. Kevin M says:

    Here is the schedule of services:

    VIEWING-Tuesday, July 24th, 5pm-9pm, Mission Hills Mortuary, 11160 Stranwood Avenue, Mission Hills, CA 91345

    VIGIL/MEMORIAL-Wednesday, July 25th, 6:30pm-9pm, Our Lady of Peace Church, 15444 Nordoff Street, North Hills, CA 91343

    FUNERAL MASS & BURIAL-Thursday, July 26th, 10am, Our Lady of Peace Church, 15444 Nordoff Street, North Hills, CA 91343 (the procession from the church back to Mission Hills mortuary/cemetery will be escorted by members of Willis’ Bicycle Club)

  25. Kevin M says:

    If anyone has pics of Willis on any of the group rides could you kindly forward them to me at kevinm949@yahoo.com or post them on Willis’ facebook page. Thanks in advance.

  26. sad day says:

    Another cyclist was just hit in Oxnard. Might not survive. Still no word on the cyclist that hit the car up on Latigo Cyn last weekend.
    http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/19/55-year-old-bicyclist-remains-in-critical-after/?partner=yahoo_feeds

  27. LaTanya says:

    Willis was a truly amazing person. I have known him since elementary school. This loss truly hurts all of us who knew him. I had the honor of attending the first of three services last night and I was struck by the great love that was there. I had no idea that cyclist faced such danger at times. It’s very painful to know that his death along with most others are preventable. In his honor I want to learn more and help get laws passed to better proctect cyclist. I deeply appreciate the work that you have done here. My heart goes out to all of the cyclist who have lost their lives and/or been injured. Thank you all again.

  28. I think the admin of this web site is truly working hard in support
    of his site, since here every material is quality based material.

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