Once again, a driver has run down a SoCal cyclist. And left him to die, his crumpled body lying helplessly in the street.
His body was found by a nearby worker after Torres was already dead. Whether he could have been saved if the coward behind the wheel had stopped and called for help may never be known.
Personally, I think every driver accused of a fatal hit-and-run should be charged with murder, since the delay in getting help inevitably contributes to the victim’s death if the collision was in any way survivable.
Torres’ stepdaughter reports that he always rode his bike from his home to his job at Brek Manufacturing on 132nd Street at 4:15 each morning, saying he felt it was pointless to pay for gas to go to work.
Police say he was struck sometime before 4:30 and 5 am. No witnesses have come forward; given the early hour, none are likely.
The paper says investigators found debris from the vehicle, including headlights, suggesting it’s likely to have significant front-end damage, most likely on the right side. Police are using that debris to determine the make of the vehicle; however, they had no other description at this time, including the color.
No mention is made of whether Torres was using lights or reflectors at that early hour.
He suffered severe head injuries despite his helmet. However, bike helmets are only designed to protect against impacts up to 12.5 mph; they are no match for a car moving at speed.
Torres leaves behind a wife of 17 years, as well as five stepchildren and their 12 children.
Gardena police urge anyone with information to call Investigator Matthew Hassoldt at 310/217-6189.
This is the 63rd bicycling death in Southern California this year, and the 19th in Los Angeles County. Torres is the 13th bike rider killed in a hit-and-run in 2012; three of the 10 riders killed in traffic collisions in L.A. County this year have been victims of hit-and-run.
My prayers and sympathy for Torres and his family.