Archive for Injuries and Fatalities

Update: Bike rider dies four days after he was rear-ended in Long Beach crash

People on bikes are taught to take the lane to improve their visibility and safety.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

And sometimes, all the doctors and nurses in world aren’t enough to undo the damage that can result.

According to a release from the Long Beach Police Department, 39-year old Crestline resident Bryan Lembke died Sunday, four days after he was struck by a driver.

Lembke was riding in the center of the right lane on westbound Spring Street through El Dorado Park around 4:40 am last Thursday, when he was run down from behind by a driver as he approached the San Gabriel River.

In other words, he was exactly where he was supposed to be. And was rear-ended anyway.

He suffered major injuries to his head and body, and was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The driver is identified only as a 53-year old man from Cypress. He remained at the scene, and was released pending further investigation.

No word on whether Lembke had lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness. And no word on whether police have obtained a warrant to check the driver’s phone to see if he was driving distracted.

Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigation Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800/222-TIPS (8477) or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A comment below from the mother of Lembke’s son indicates that he did have front and rear blinking lights on his bike, as well as a solid white headlamp on his helmet. 

A crowdfunding campaign raising funds for his son’s education has raised over $15,000 of the $25,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bryan Lembke and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. 

 

Update: Bike rider killed in big rig crash on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles

This morning, I received two separate reports of a serious crash involving a bike rider and a tractor-trailer on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles.

David Drexler emailed to say he had driven past a crash involving a tractor-trailer at the southbound onramp to the 405 freeway on Santa Monica Blvd.

I could not get on the highway there at approx. 10 am, ramp was closed and highway patrol looked like it set up an investigation scene.  There was a very crumbled bicycle in the middle lane of the on ramp sitting at the back tires of the truck that was sitting in the lane as well.  The victim must have been removed earlier.

That was followed by this tweet from CG.

Then late this afternoon, Caltrans District 7 confirmed the death on Twitter.

As anyone who has tried to ride that section of Santa Monica Blvd knows, it is a very dangerous, poorly designed and overly crowded intersection, with a high risk of a right hook or left cross from drivers attempting to get onto the 405.

Not to mention the usual jockeying for position from too-often distracted drivers trying to snake through the congestion.

Most riders don’t try it second time, opting for the safety of Ohio Blvd a few blocks to the north; those who do usually stick to the sidewalks, which are often blocked by homeless people.

And even that requires coming off the sidewalk to ride past the onramp.

For whatever reason, this person sadly paid the price for that bad design.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A GoFundMe page has identified the victim as Frank Guzman; it’s raised over $500 of the $5,000 goal in the first few hours.

A family member describes him like this.

She added this —

Frank was 31, lived in Glendale and is survived by his parents, two siblings, his girlfriend and niece who he adored. He worked full time and was also in school trying to further his education. He was a foodie. Loved to try new things & always seeking adventure.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Frank Guzman and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to David Drexler and CG for the heads-up.

 

Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza died, 2 days after he was struck allegedly stoned driver in Mission Viejo

In the end, a man who spent 18 years saving others couldn’t be saved himself.

News broke this morning that Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza had died, two days after he was after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo.

Kreza was training for an Ironman Triathlon when his bike was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp around 8 am Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos.

He was reportedly hit from behind as he was riding in the bike lane on eastbound Alicia Parkway, suffering critical wounds to the head and body.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department had reported that he was unresponsive as a Sunday afternoon, and surrounded by family and friends.

Scarp remained at the scene. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI after police found multiple prescription medications in his car. At last report he was being held on $100,000 bond, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Kreza leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.

This is made even more tragic, not just because of the families he leaves behind — both his own and the close-knit firefighter community — but because so many of us owe our lives to the men and women who devote theirs to saving others.

He died, sadly and needlessly, not in a courageous effort to rescue someone else, but as one of us.

A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised over $126,000 in just two days, more than five times the original $25,000 goal.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mike Kreza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Megan Lynch, Steve S and Steven Bonadio for the heads-up.

 

 

Update: Driver arrested on murder charge for intentionally running down a Claremont bike rider

Wrecks are seldom accidents.

But they’re usually not on purpose, either.

Yet that was the case in Claremont today, where a driver is facing a murder charge for intentionally running down a woman as she rode in a bike lane.

According to the Daily Bulletin, 54-year old Leslie Pray was riding north along the 1900 block of North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive around 11:30 am today when she was deliberately struck by the driver of a 1996 station wagon.

Pray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested 61-year old Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted at a nearby hospital after a brief investigation.

There’s no word on how — or why — the crash happened, or whether the two women knew each other.

Wicksted is being held on $2 million bond. Then again, if she could pay that, she probably wouldn’t be driving a 22-year old station wagon.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909/399-5411.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

And the first one that was, allegedly, on purpose.

Update: KABC-7 reports that Wicksted was driving in the opposite direction on Mills, and swerved across the road to strike Pray’s bicycle.

The presence of skid marks on the street demonstrates her path across the road, as well as indicating she was braking as she crossed the roadway. Which is odd for a driver who was attempting to hit someone. 

However, the station also says other bike riders told police that Wicksted had swerved towards them just moments before she killed Pray.

She is also suspected of being under the influence; several empty liquor bottles were found in her car after the crash.

Tragically, Pray had just started riding a bike this summer.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm today

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Photo by Erik Griswold. 

Unidentified man killed in Van Nuys hit-and-run; suspect arrested nearby

Another day, another fatal hit-and-run on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

In what’s rapidly becoming an everyday occurrence, a man was killed riding his bicycle in an early morning crash, and left to die by the heartless killer who ran him down.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the hit-and-run was reported around 3:45 am at Haskell Ave and Stagg Street.

When police arrived, they found the victim dead at the scene next to his crumpled fat tired bicycle, after being thrown approximately 40 feet from where he was rear-ended.

The belligerent, and apparently intoxicated, driver was arrested about a mile away at Woodley Ave and Satticoy Street near the Van Nuys Airport, with the arrest filmed as it happened by KTTV Fox11.

He insisted that he is in the army and serving our country, demanding the officers respect him while swearing at them and refusing to obey orders. However, police suspect the camo uniform he wore was nothing more than a Halloween costume.

KTTV places the time of the crash at around 3:15 am. At that hour, it’s most likely that the victim was either homeless, or riding to or from work.

No word on whether he had lights on his bike, how fast the driver was going, or what direction they were traveling.

A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm Friday.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this hit-and-run epidemic will continue until our elected officials finally care enough to actually do something about it.

Or more likely, when we do.

So if you haven’t already demanded action from your state legislators, maybe it’s time to start.

This is at least the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

Brother of state legislator killed in Buena Park bike collision on Monday

Another Orange County bike rider lost his life on Monday, in what was an exceptionally deadly two days for SoCal bicyclists.

The Orange County Register reports, almost as an aside, that the 52-year old brother of California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva was killed riding his bike in Buena Park.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Darlington Avenue and Artesia Boulevard when Raymond William Jaso was hit by the driver of a pickup around 6:18 pm.

No other information is available at this time.

Jaso was homeless following a longtime battle with alcoholism; he recently began drinking again after walking away from a county-run treatment program.

It’s not clear if that may have contributed to the crash.

His homelessness, and struggles with alcohol and mental health issues, should do nothing to diminish the tragedy of Jaso’s life or death.

Quirk-Silva writes movingly about the loss of her brother.

Jaso’s death follows fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, as well as a second Orange County death in Stanton on Monday.

This is at least the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raymond William Jaso and all his loved ones. 

Ebike rider killed in Stanton crash; driver left scene before returning

This has been a deadly week for SoCal bicyclists.

In the wake of two previously reported fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, two other riders lost their lives in Orange County on Monday.

The first of these occurred near the intersection of Cerritos and Magnolia avenues in Stanton around 1:50 pm.

The Orange County Register reports 79-year old Anaheim resident Tam Nguyen was struck by the driver of a car while riding his ebike. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he died sometime later.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stopped in a nearby parking lot before returning. Police do not believe he or she was under the influence.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, which street Nguyen was on, or how the crash happened.

A street view doesn’t help, since we don’t know where the crash took place.

Nguyen was initially unidentified at the time of his death. Which should once again serve as a tragic reminder to always carry some form of ID when you ride.

This is at least the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Peter Flax points out that Cerritos was recommended for a Complete Streets makeover, but rejected due to political concerns. 

He also points out that it is the same street where Debra Gresham was killed two years ago

Let’s hope Orange County is held accountable for not fixing it. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tam Nguyen and all his loved ones. 

 

Oxnard man killed after allegedly swerving his bike in front of bus

An Oxnard man was killed when he was hit by a bus while riding his bike Monday afternoon.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim was riding in the eastbound bike lane on Gonzales Road west of Lantana Street when he allegedly veered in front of a transit bus around 4:13 pm.

The victim, who was identified only as a 60-year old Oxnard man, was pronounced dead after being taken to Ventura County Medical Center.

Video from the scene shows debris strewn across the left lane, with the bike coming to rest near the center median.

A street view shows a four lane road with a center divider, and a curbside bike lane.

As always, the question is whether there were any witnesses other than the driver, since the victim is unable to tell his side of the story. However, the fact that a photo from the Star showed the victim’s bike resting just beyond a left turn bay adds credence to the suggestion that he may have somehow turned in front of the bus.

No brake marks are visible in any of the photos which would indicate where the bus was prior to the impact.

This is at least the 38th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first that I’m aware of in Ventura County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. 

 

 

Update: Man killed in hit-and-run while riding in Sun Valley bike lane

Now it’s confirmed.

This morning we mentioned a late night news report from KABC-7, which said a man had been killed in an apparent hit-and-run in Sun Valley on Sunday.

Now their brief story has finally been posted online.

The Los Angeles Daily News adds more details, indicating the victim was riding east in the bike lane on Strathern Street at Bellingham Avenue in Sun Valley when he was rear-ended by the driver of a dark colored SUV around 8:30 pm.

The driver reportedly stopped for a few moments before fleeing the scene.

Paramedics took the victim, publicly identified only as a 45-year old man, to Holy Cross Hospital, where he died.

Judging by photos on the Daily News story, he does not appear to have had lights on his mountain bike, though you can see wheel reflectors in some photos.

A street view shows a two lane road with bike lanes on either side on Strathern, with a 35 mph speed limit and minimal street lighting approaching the uncontrolled intersection.

Some reports place the crash scene in North Hollywood, though most call it Sun Valley.

This is at least the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: The LA Daily News identified the victim as 45-year old Panorama City resident Roberto Perez.

The story also confirms that he didn’t have lights on his bike, and was riding on a dark street wearing dark clothing. Local riders gathered for Wednesday’s ghost bike installation complained about the dark conditions on the bike lane. 

Like any fatal hit-and-run in Los Angeles, there is an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Javier Avila, of the Valley Traffic Division at 818/644-8034, or the LAPD tip line at 877/527-3247.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Roberto Perez and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Steve S for forwarding the Daily News piece, and the photo of Perez’ ghost bike.

 

San Diego bike rider killed after going through red light; third SoCal bicyclist killed this week

A San Diego-area man has been killed while riding his bike, the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this week.

According to the Union-Tribune, the 44-year old victim was struck by the driver of a pickup truck in Chula Vista around 10 pm last night.

The paper reports the collision occurred at Second Avenue and Palomar Street, where witnesses say the victim, who has not been publicly identified, went through the red light on southbound Second.

However, San Diego’s NBC-7 says he was traveling east on Palomar, which would mean the driver was on Second.

He suffered severe head and injuries, and died after being taken to a local hospital.

The 22-year old driver stayed at the scene; police don’t believe drugs or alcohol use was a factor.

A street view shows a four lane road with left turn bays on Palomar, and a two lane street on Second. Palomar has a 35 mph speed limit, while residential Second should have a 25 mph limit.

The severity of the victim’s injuries, despite wearing a helmet, would suggest that the driver may have been traveling faster than that.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th that I’m aware of in San Diego County.

It comes after a bicyclist was killed in LA’s San Fernando Valley on Monday, and another was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run in Torrance yesterday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his loved ones.

%d bloggers like this: