Last year was a bad one for SoCal cyclists. And now word is coming out that it was worse than we thought.
The 50-year old Redlands resident, who did not own a car, was riding her mountain bike east on Lugonia Avenue near Grove Street around 6:45 pm on Friday, October 26th when she was hit from behind by a car traveling at an estimated 45 to 55 miles per hour. The car, described as a newer black 4-door sedan with tinted windows, fled the scene without stopping; the vehicle reportedly suffered damage to the front bumper, windshield and roof.
The road narrows at that intersection, with the eastbound side going from two lanes to one just before Grove Ave. However, there’s no word on whether that may have contributed to the wreck.
Jones was in a coma for a month following the collision, and was unable to move or speak for weeks afterward. The paper does not give a cause of death, but says it is unclear if her death was directly linked to the collision.
According to the Sun, the collision is still under investigation; anyone with information is urged to call Redlands Police Dispatch at 909-798-7681.
If the death can be tied to the injuries Jones suffered as a result of the collision, the driver could face substantially increased penalties for the hit-and-run.
If he or she is ever caught.
Simply put, there is never, ever any excuse for fleeing the scene of a collision. Those who do should face mandatory homicide charges if their victim dies, since they callously and knowingly left their victim to die on the streets. And they should automatically lose their drivers licenses for life, since they have shown themselves unfit to be behind the wheel.
Jones’ death increases the final total of 2012 cycling fatalities in Southern California to 75, 10 of which occurred in San Bernardino County — which is about 75 and 10 too many, respectively. Fourteen of those resulted from hit-and-run collisions, with three in San Bernardino County.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Laura Lee Jones and all her family and loved ones.