Corona del Mar today is reporting that a suspect has been arrested in hit-and-run death of Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion Ritz last weekend. Campion Ritz was run down from behind as she and her husband were riding their bikes in a Newport Beach bike lane last weekend.
Details are still sketchy. However, the site reports that an arrest was made early this morning, and police have the suspect vehicle in custody. And yes, it is a Toyota Tundra, as had been suspected.
More information when it becomes available.
The fast arrest undoubtedly has to do with the seriousness with which the local police treated the case.
Not only did Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson lose his own 18-year old brother in a traffic collision, as cdmCyclist’s Frank Peters reported last night, but he clearly understands the curse of rampant hit-and-runs.
“That was a hit and run accident, which absolutely disgusts me,” Johnson said. “This police department will not stop until we find this suspect and bring him to justice. We are not going to stop until we make this happen.”
When every police department adopts that attitude, maybe this epidemic will finally stop.
Half of the eight fatal cycling collisions in Orange County this year have been hit-and-runs; the County’s ninth cycling death was a solo fall. That compares with two hit-and-runs out of seven cycling collisions in both Los Angeles and San Diego Counties.
L.A. County has a total of 15 riding deaths so far this year, including solo falls and one train collision, while San Diego has 10.
Correction: Earlier I wrote that Chief Johnson lost his brother in a bicycling collision; it was actually a motor vehicle collision. Thanks to Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the correction.
Update: The Orange County Bicycle Coalition identifies the suspect as 39-year old Anaheim resident Michael Jason Lopez.
Newport Beach police arrested Lopez around 2 am this morning; he’s currently being held on $100,000 bond on a charge of Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence. Hit-and-run charges will most likely be filed at a later date.