I’ve received a number of unconfirmed reports that a bike rider was killed this morning in a collision on Laguna Canyon Road in Orange County.
One person reports driving by the collision site and seeing a body covered up by police, following what appeared to be a collision between a bike and a minivan. Another report places the site near Highway 133.
More details as they become available.
Update: The Orange County Register has just confirmed that two cyclists were struck by a Toyota Corolla around 8:50 am, one fatally.
They place the site of the collision on the southbound 133 Freeway (Laguna Canyon Road) north of the 73 toll road, just outside the Laguna Beach city limits. A comment from Mike puts it halfway between the 405 and the 73; a satellite view shows a wide shoulder at that point.
According to the paper, the driver remained at the scene; unfortunately, any other details are hidden behind their paywall.
Mike reports that the car had a crushed windshield; combined with the wide shoulder and relatively straight highway with limited access points, that would suggest a hit-from-behind collision.
This is the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County.
Update 2: More details are coming in. According to the Laguna Beach Independent, the victim killed in today’s collision was a 53-year old Mission Viejo man, while the injured rider was a 48-year old man from Fullerton.
The Orange County Coroner’s office identifies the victim as James Mitchell Waller, and places the time of death at 8:48 am; a comment below says he was the former City Manager of the City of Westminster.
The surviving victim, is identified below as Kevin Beach, fleet superintendent for the city. He was taken to Mission Hospital; a comment says he is awake and alert, and no longer in critical condition.
According to Laguna Beach Patch, the 25-year old driver was traveling at 60 mph when she drifted onto the should of the road and hit both riders. She was questioned at the scene, and no arrest has been made at this time; alcohol use is not suspected.
A driver following shortly behind the Corolla witnessed the collision and stayed to aid the victims.
I was at the scene this morning on my way to work, two cars back from the accident when it happened and saw it go down. The two riders were struck from behind by a small white corolla-type car going about 60-65 mph (not sure why that car drifted into the shoulder). The rest of us who were there did what we could to help by directing traffic, calling 911, and talking with the conscious rider, who was responsive but in shock, while the other who died was non-responsive nor breathing right after the accident. Paramedics arrived around 5 minutes later and pronounced the fatality. The driver of the white car stayed (thankfully) and those of us who were there gave statements to the police. The previous post was correct – they were riding black/white Specialized frames. I am still in shock from seeing the accident and am praying for the families of all involved, including the woman driving the white car.
My prayers and deepest sympathy for James Waller, and all his family and loved ones. And prayers and best wishes for Kevin Beach for a full and speedy recover.
Update 3: The OC Weekly offers a good profile of Waller, including his career with the Westminster Police Department.