Too much bad news — 17-year old hero killed in Hesperia, 60-year old Gardena bike victim dies

Just too much bad news to keep up with today.

The latest in today’s string of tragedies is the heartbreaking story of a teenaged bike rider who positioned himself to protect his date. And paid the ultimate price, thanks to the hit-and-run driver who ran him down.

According to the High Dessert Daily Press, 17-year old Daniel Sanchez was run down from behind while riding with a companion at 1:33 am Tuesday near Main Street and Escondido Ave in Hesperia. He suffered severe head trauma, and passed away at 8:45 yesterday morning despite plans to keep him on life support.

It’s tragic enough that the recent high school graduate was planning to open his own air conditioning business to support his single parent mother and six siblings.

KNBC-4 reports that he was riding side-by-side with his 17-year old female friend on their way to get something to eat when they heard a truck coming up from behind.

Rodriguez said they were riding side by side on the edge of the paved road when they heard the truck coming down the lonely road. The girl was closest to the pavement, and as a precaution, Sanchez asked her to switch sides with her.

“He told me, ‘There’s a car coming, move more inside,’” she said. “As soon as his sentence finished, that’s when it happened.”

Sanchez was hit by the truck, whose driver failed to stop.

“He fell on top of me and I imagine he bounced back on the floor and that’s when he hit his head,” Rodriguez said.

In other words, he gave his life to save hers.

Police are looking for a white pickup truck; no other information is currently available on the suspect truck or the heartless bastard behind the wheel who left a young hero to die in the street.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Hesperia Police Department at (760) 947-1500.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Daniel Sanchez and all his family.

……..

In a bizarre coincidence — at least, we can hope that’s all it is — authorities are looking for a truck that matches that same description for the hit-and-run that sent another local teenager to the hospital.

Sixteen year old Henry Chavez Jr. of Oak Hills was released from the hospital Monday night following a hit-and-run last Saturday night that resulted in the loss of part of his spleen and 22 stitches to the top of his head; fortunately, he’s expected to make a full recovery.

The collision occurred around 9 pm as he borrowed his sister’s bike to get a bag of chips. He was riding east on Mesquite Road near Mesa Vista Road when he was rear ended by a hit-and-run driver in a white pickup, possibly a Toyota.

Either two drivers in similar trucks have fled the scene leaving their victims behind, or someone is targeting teenage cyclists in the high desert.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Victorville CHP office at 760-241-1186.

………

Meanwhile, a third teenage cyclist suffered minor injuries when he was hit by a car in Hesperia Tuesday. But at least this time, the driver had the decency to stick around.

……..

Finally, news broke today that 60-year old Gardena resident Jesse Dotson died last Friday of the injuries he suffered in yet another hit-and-run on Wednesday, the 26th.

Dotson was riding to work around 9:50 pm on the 1000 block of El Segundo Blvd when he was hit and left bleeding in the street with severe head injuries as the driver fled the scene.

Despite initial reports that they were looking for a Hispanic man in his 40s or 50s, Gardena police have arrested 22-year old Vanessa Marie Yanez for Dotson’s death. She faces charges of suspicion of manslaughter, perjury, filing a false police report and felony hit-and-run.

In other words, they threw the book at her, instead of the relative slap on the wrist most killer drivers face.

She must have done something to really piss someone off.

My sincere prayers and sympathy for Jesse Dotson and all his loved ones.

Update: Now it makes sense, as Yanez is accused of covering up her involvement in the hit-and-run — and her LAPD Sargent father is under investigation for possible involvement in the cover-up, as well as angrily confronting a news team reporting the story.

Read my update here.

……..

These are the 43rd and 44th bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, which compares to 30 this time last year. It’s also the fifth bike-related death in Riverside County in 2013, and the 20th in Los Angeles County, which compares to five and nine, respectively, last year.

In other words, L.A. County in now over 200% above this time last year, and just three below the total for all of 2012. And we’re barely past the first half the year.

And it’s the eight and ninth fatal hit-and-runs in Southern California since the first of the year.

3 comments

  1. JD says:

    Our sincerest heartfelt prayers go up for the families and friends of all the victims.

  2. BTW, he was a high school graduate, not a college graduate (it’s hard to be a college graduate at 17). SB Sun reports that he was riding west on Main near Escondido.

    I see a reckless teen riding side by side with another, in the middle of the night, on a major highway with no lighting, no paved shoulder, and a 55 mph speed limit, and most likely without a helmet or a tail light. In my book that’s called “death wish”, not “hero”.

    There is some uncertainty as to the location of the crash. I see comments implying that they were riding in the dirt to the side of the road. I can’t quite understand how you get hit by a truck if you’re riding off pavement, and there’s another cyclist between you and the pavement who escapes uninjured (according to the quote, they never had time to switch). Something is missing in the story. Let’s wait for the coroner report to appear.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thank you for the correction. I meant to write high school, have no idea how college came out instead. That’s what happens when I’m trying to get a story online when I should be sleeping.

      It is pure speculation to suggest the the victim wasn’t wearing a helmet or using lights. I haven’t seen either mentioned in any story; it’s just as valid — and just as meaningless — to speculate that the driver was speeding, drunk or distracted. We simply don’t have that information.

      There is nothing in the California Vehicle Code that prohibits riding side by side, and in fact, it is often safer by calling more attention to the riders’ presence than would be noticeable if they were riding single file; under the same circumstances, I would probably assume the outside position to protect my companion, slightly behind and to the left.

      I also think you’re reading too much into that quote. Everything I’ve read and heard suggests he had switched positions with her before getting hit.

      And bicyclists get hit, and killed, by drivers who drift off the roadway onto the shoulder almost every day.

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