Another bike-riding LA man has lost his life in yet another bloody hit-and-run.
According to the LA Times, 22-year old LA resident Manuel Enrique Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on the sidewalk along Slauson Ave in South LA, when he rode out into traffic and was killed by an unknown driver who fled the scene.
The collision took place on Slauson Avenue east of San Pedro Place around 8:25 pm Sunday.
LAist reports Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on west the sidewalk before veering onto the street, where he was hit by a car turning right onto Slauson from San Pedro Place. The driver hit Mendoza-Hernandez’s bike, knocking him into the street, before running over him and fleeing east on Slauson.
He was pronounced at the scene.
There were no apparent witnesses. However, evidence found at the scene indicates the suspect may have been driving a Toyota Corolla; no word yet on year or color.
This would have been the perfect opportunity for the LAPD to use the new hit-and-run alert system recently approved by the city council. No alert appears to have been sent out, though; the last update on the LAPD blog was nearly a week ago.
A tweet from Marccaz correctly notes there is no sidewalk on the westbound side, suggesting that the police report may have been wrong.
However, there is a sidewalk on the south (eastbound) side of the street. And nothing in the news reports indicate what side of the street Mendoza-Hernandez was riding on.
If he was riding on the south sidewalk against traffic, he could have been forced out into the street by several poles obstructing the sidewalk, where he would have been hidden from the view of the turning driver by the building that comes within a few feet of the intersection.
It would make sense then if the driver continue east on Slauson to make his or her escape, since that’s the direction the car was already headed.
Had the driver simply stayed at the scene, there likely wouldn’t have been any charges, since police investigators probably would have found Mendoza-Hernandez at fault for riding against traffic once he entered the street.
Although the fact that he was unable to stop after hitting the cyclist, so soon after making a right, would suggest the he was traveling at some speed and may not have come to a full stop at the stop sign before making his turn.
Instead, the driver could now face time in prison for a fatal hit-and-run, assuming police make an arrest in the case.
This is the 25th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in LA County; six of those have been in the City of Los Angeles. That compares with 45 in SoCal this time last year, and 17 and 4, respectively, in the county and city.
Update: Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Central Traffic Detective Felix Padilla at 213/486-0753.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Manuel Enrique Mendoza-Hernandez and his loved ones.