Heartbreaking news, as word is just coming in that a young bicyclist was killed in a collision with a semi-truck in Simi Valley tonight.
According to the Ventura County Star, a 12-year old boy was struck by a Fresh and Easy delivery truck while riding his bike around 7:30 pm Saturday at the intersection of Tapo Street and Alamo Street.
The paper says the truck was turning onto Alamo from southbound Tapo when it struck the boy, who has not been publicly identified; a report from KTLA-5 suggests the truck was actually leaving a nearby parking lot when the collision occurred.
No word which direction the truck was turning or how the collision occurred; a satellite view shows bike lanes in three of the four directions leading to and from the intersection, but not in front of the Fresh and Easy store.
As if the death isn’t tragic enough, the victim was riding with an eight-year old friend who may have witnessed the wreck.
Simi Valley police are investigating the collision, and the driver is reportedly cooperating.
This is the 28th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Ventura County; that equals the total for Ventura County for all of last year.
My prayers for the victim and his family.
Update: By now, it’s clear from some of the comments below that the victim’s family has been notified of the death, but the victim still has not been publicly identified. If anyone would like to share the name of the victim so he can be remembered with the respect he deserves, or has any more information on how this collision occurred, please let me know. You can add a comment here, or find my email address on the About page.
Update 2: The Simi Valley Acorn has identified the victim as Jacob Sellers of Simi Valley, and added some details that clarify the situation, at least in part.
According to the paper, the victim’s mother, Brenda Sellers, was told that Jacob was crushed under the back wheels of the truck, which dragged his bike some distance down the road. The driver was apparently unaware of the collision; a motorcycle rider had to chase him down and tell him he’d hit someone.
A comment left here by a woman who identifies herself as Brenda Sellers says he was riding on the sidewalk and was riding too fast to avoid the truck.
And yes, minors are allowed to ride on any sidewalk in Simi Valley.
According to Sellers, her son did everything right.
“The bike he was on had brakes, he knew how to use his brakes. . . . So it breaks my heart that there are people mad because they think he was in the street riding his bike or he was assuming that he had the right of way, because that’s not Jacob, that’s not how he was,” she said.
“He was wearing his helmet. . . . He was doing everything he was supposed to be.”
She may be right.
Based on the description, it would appear that the truck driver may have failed to notice Jacob riding on the sidewalk, and pulled forward across the bike rider’s path as it turned right — a danger most bike riders would recognize, and one that few 12-year olds would have the skills to avoid.
Jacob Sellers was on this way home for dinner, riding his new bike, when he was killed just a week after his 12th birthday.
A fund has been established in Jacob’s memory; as of Friday night, it had raised over $15,000, surpassing the initial goal $10,000.
Thanks to Henry Fung for the Acorn link.