Update — Rancho Cucamonga cyclist latest victim of a fatal hit-and-run; 2nd in last two months

KCBS-2 reports that yet another cyclist has been killed in a Southern California hit-and-run.

According to the station, 25-year old Michael Vega was riding west on Foothill Blvd near Ramona Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga around 6:40 pm Tuesday, when he was run down from behind by a white truck, which fled the scene.

A fire captain reports the impact was hard enough to knock Vega out of his shoes. The station also notes that Vega was wearing a helmet, but the force of impact was too great for it to be of benefit.

And yet a police spokesperson suggests that unless the driver was drunk — which will probably never be determined, since he fled the scene — it will amount to nothing more than a simple traffic accident.

Thanks for having our back, dude.

Hint to the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department — killing another human being with a motor vehicle is a serious matter. Or at least, it should be.

Whether or not the driver was drunk.

KCBS reports the witnesses tried to comfort Vega where they found him crumpled in the gutter; he was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Police are looking for a white work truck with a ladder or lumber rack in the back. Anyone with information should contact the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department’s Rancho Cucamonga station at 800/477-2800.

Vega is the 49th cyclist to die on Southern California streets this year, excluding gunshot victims, and the eighth in San Bernardino County.

This is also the third cycling death in Rancho Cucamonga — a frighteningly high total for a city of less than 168,000 — and the second fatal hit-and-run involving a cyclist in that city in just the last two months.

My prayers and deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.

Update: Michael of CLR Effect offers his thoughts, which are always insightful and always worth reading, including this:

Almost as troubling is the initial reaction from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. I don’t normally like to knock law enforcement, they are only charged with enforcing existing laws, not making them, not prosecuting them. But tied into the process of enforcement is the act of interpretation. When a department spokesperson says “unless the driver is intoxicated, nothing other than having a traffic accident taken is going to come out of this” has to leave me wondering what ever happened to the serve and protect code (granted that is the LAPD motto, but have always believed it should apply to all in the public service sector). 

Update 2: The Press-Enterprise says Vega was a resident of Norco, and died at the hospital less than an hour after being hit.

Update 3: KCBS offers a good follow-up on their original story, noting a ghost bike has already been installed, and that Vega worked at the Apple Store in Victoria Gardens. 

He was on his way to his girlfriend’s home when he was killed; his mother thanked those who comforted her son as he lay dying, and said she saw a double rainbow that night, taking a picture of it at the same time he passed away.

Update 4: An arrest has been made in this case

24 comments

  1. TQ says:

    “Anyone with information”…. well, that’s kind of vague.

    Obviously the SBSD needs a lot of very basic information it should already have as a law enforcement agency, a great deal of it regarding the definitions of “protect” and “serve.”

  2. kelly says:

    what kind of human being runs a person down and leaves them? So Pissed Off!!

  3. KF says:

    You are missed and loved Michael and the person who was to much of a coward to face what they did should be brought to justice

  4. Michael says:

    You have got to be kidding me!!!!???? “it will amount to nothing more than a simple traffic accident.” Really? Isn’t leaving the scene when you’re responsible for killing someone a crime? This is sad. Rancho Cucamonga Sheriffs Dept Wake Up!!!!!

  5. Holly McClure says:

    I am friends with this family and are hurting for them! Please I you have any info contact the police dept so this person and be caught and punished!!!!

  6. Roxanne says:

    I did not know Michael, but I share his love for cycling, the hope and prayers for safety and the right to bike in shared roads. My deepest condolences to Michael’s family and friends. :*(

    • bikinginla says:

      Thank you for the reminder, Roxanne. I was in such a rush to get this online last night that I forgot to add my condolences, and did not notice that until you mentioned yours.

      I’ve added it to my story above, but to all who knew Michael, please accept my deepest sympathy and prayers.

  7. Joe says:

    First and foremost, my condolences to Michael’s family. I hope they catch the worthless piece of garbage that did this. I have to say, it seems more people commenting including the blogger are more upset with Rancho PD, that the trash that hit and killed him. I’m betting the statement is nothing more than a ploy to convince the guy to turn himself in, thinking he won’t be facing a serious charge. Kind of makes sense, seeing how at the very least the moron will be facing felony hit and run charges, and possibly manslaughter. RIDE in peace, Michael …

    • bikinginla says:

      Joe, I’m going to assume you’re new to this blog. Otherwise, you’d know that I think hit-and-run drivers are the lowest form of scum on our roadways, and that no one with a conscience could leave another human being to die in the street.

      I also believe that anyone who leaves the scene of a collision should automatically lose their license — permanently. Since many, if not most, hit-and-run drivers flee because the penalty for drunk driving is more severe than the penalty for hit and run, the penalty for both should be the same. And the vehicle used in the crime should be impounded as evidence, and if the driver is convicted, it should be sold and the profits donated to the victim or his or her family; after all, you don’t let a bank robber keep the gun he used.

      Does that sound like I’m more upset with the police?

      That said, it was a stupid remark that implies they aren’t taking this case seriously. I hope you’re right about the intent, but given that a San Bernardino court just gave the road-racing killer of Jorge Alvarado just 90 days in jail, I wouldn’t hold out a lot of hope for a stiff sentence.

      • Joe says:

        My being new to this blog, doesn’t change the perception that more contempt was being emphasize towards the PD then the person who committed the crime, in the form of several paragraphs knocking the PD. I’m in full agreement with your opinion on making the person do serious time, as well as losing their license and vehicle. I think its time to make our voice heard to law makers that we need tougher laws.

        • Joe says:

          I also can’t understand why nobody followed the piece of garbage. Foothill Blvd is quite busy at that time of night, and there had to be several witnesses to the incident. I live one mile north of the scene, off of Ramona. I’m wondering if the low life lives near by

  8. karL says:

    Now is the time to start preparing our comments for those we find bleeding out in the ditch an hour or so from death- what do we say- is comforting them the ultimate purpose of our words?

    Or do we vow- pledge, however politically incorrect Hollywood arguments like “the Pledge” would make that feel now, to say, next year by this date it’s only be two Cucomongians who will die alone at the side of the road but for out toasts. Not three. NO. TWO!

    TWO!!

    Just two.

    At least till october, not couting Halloween, not fair to count those ever.

    One is too many.

    it was only an accident for the driver

    we share the greater guilt

  9. Kathy says:

    The general assumption seems to be that the driver must have been drunk. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been biking and have seen drivers on cell phones, absent-mindedly rolling through crosswalks, out of driveways, drifting into bike lanes, etc. This has to stop and there needs to be stiffer penalties, and the cops need to crack down on this once and for all (of course I have even seen them yacking on cell phones). I did not know about this poor biker until last night, when we drove by and saw people at the memorial. I cry every time I here about these terrible tragedies. I am so sorry for this guy’s family.

  10. karL says:

    I’m sorry people if you don’t want to see this happening you have to raise the standards for owning cars and being alllowed to drive them in ‘public.’

    It’s that simple.

    Blame the victims like we do when we care so littel aobut actually changing the world.

    THat’s not for me. I have hope.

  11. Lennalou says:

    I lived with Michael a few years back in college. He was an amazing guy. Super artistic, he had the best taste in clothing music etc. I always admired him and valued his friendship. He loved that bike, and rode it everywhere. I cant believe hes gone, because of some fools careless actions. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I love you and will miss you always Michael.

  12. Karl says:

    I agree about the careless actions of fools being the problem but must again note that anyone who offers condolences as they admit to driving is a hypocrit unless they are writing from someplace about driving somehow somewhere that does not allow for biking instead- but that is almost never the case.

    So we look at our window and say “how horrible!”, we say “They should not do this to such a fine man!” and then we mosy on our way with the magic of statistics letting us do so until we to in our reckless in driving at all when it’s not truly necessary get to argue how “we’ are not hte problem, not like “that”, fine, upstanding, rather, normal.

    Although it is sometimes booze or whatever it is not always adn I ask how many is it ok for ‘ordinary’ driving for ‘careful’ (but needless) driving to kill every day? IN this country, on this earthy, how many seems reasonable? Fewer then last year, decade- ah, that’s progress? ANd then when we slip up, and a decades worth die in a month- it’s just an anomoly, and eventually, by some perspective, ti will be different even lesser, but still, I say instead far too many.

    THe car is dangerous. It has no place in cities. Better solutions exist. Those who think I do not care about those who die are of course mistaken. It is them often who make such claims against us, who feel like it’s one thing to want to stone the drunk but quite another to suggest some clean shaven likely white guy in a uniform with a badge is beyond disrepute for only considering people on bikes whoowant to make criminal cases about fists being pumped at them or nearly run over for sport frivilous the monster. IN so doing they are the problem.

    Grief is grief and those too close are not bullied by me. I welcome there emote- but inform while the informing can b e had- so when it’s no longeoroabout them, if they still remain those whohave suffered alone on the ground with maybe if there lucky by some’s sense not long tothink about what it alll means, before losing consciousness for the last time, they among us who survive, can actually honor the fallen and not have there loss goto waste.

    Because the questio of how many more once answered translates into how skillled a driver must be to drive alone. IT IS THAT SIMPLE.

    If you want half the deaths then a certain number of people now melting icebergs toearn miniumum wage or do open heart surgery need to get a life at home instead and call a cab if not drive.

    A certain CERTAIN number.

    The fewer we think are acceptible to lose by blunt trauma the more people whose ‘wings’ we must clip and give jobs to good drivers to assist them.

    People have been being sacrificed for profit of those who make these insane machines for generations. It is trivial toend all the deaths.

    Trivial.

    THe cost would be barely noticable and our quality of life much better. All it requiers of us is intent. But almost nobody seems to think enough have perished yet or ever will. Such is cynicism,such is mediocre or nonexistent values and morals in high epidemic seen.

    The internetw e use here helps us know those who we sacrifice in hte name of tradition. I buck this trend. I prefer other things to funerals and tears and all that drama. It is trivial to stop the ‘accident’s’ all you hav eto do is park the cars and instead use safer means whenever possible. NO more deaths. Driving without necessity is demonic possesion- won’t you all at least consider helping me casting them out? Trust me there is so much more to life and work to do then buyign and selling automobiles. Anyone who says no is condeming those we will read about soon to horrific death or worse. Drive- murder, why not? You know who you are- in somecases, but most of the time don’t- eventually your ask your personal assistant and by then hopefully it’ll be authorised to tell you the truth.

  13. john doe says:

    From what i heard its already hitting the streets in rancho the driver is talking about it…he’ll get caught…he’s talking infront of the wrong people

  14. alfredo says:

    Even if this person is never caught he will face god rath in this life and the after life. my prayers out to his family and i will pray for his safe passage to god.

  15. Momma says:

    We Miss You Every SIngle Day Michael Ray!!

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