Tag Archive for Anaheim

Bike riding mother of eight killed in Anaheim hit-and-run

Yet another innocent person has been murdered by a heartless coward in a motor vehicle.

Just one day after three teenage girls were killed by a hit-and-run driver in Santa Ana, a mother of eight has been killed by a driver who fled the scene in nearby Anaheim.

Forty-four-year old Anaheim resident Daniella Palacios was apparently riding her bike across Magnolia Avenue just south of La Palma Ave around 9:10 pm Saturday, when she was struck by a vehicle whose driver ran away rather than stop and aid the victim or take responsibility for his actions. Palacios was found lying in the street by one of her nieces, just a few blocks from her home.

She was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where she died at 12:46 am.

According to the Orange County Register, witnesses reported seeing a white pickup in the area at the time of the collision. Police are looking for the driver, who reportedly fled north on Magnolia, although the truck does not yet appear to have been tied directly to the crash.

A street view shows a six lane street, with the wide lanes typical of Orange County that can encourage speeding, especially at off hours such as a Saturday night. In addition, there don’t appear to be any crosswalks or traffic signals until Crescent, several blocks south of La Palma.

According to KABC-7, Palacios often brought food to homeless people living in the area, after once being homeless herself.

Anyone with information is urged to call Anaheim Police Department at 714/765-1991.

As I have said before, the driver of this or any other fatal hit-and-run should face a murder charge, on the assumption that the victim might have survived if she’d gotten help on time.

And they should be banned from driving for the rest of their lives.

This is the 75th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Orange County, which compares to 12 for all of last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Daniella Palacios and all her family. 

Thanks to Erik Griswold for the heads-up.

Update: Bike rider killed in Anaheim hit-and-run; victim left in street to be hit by second car

It’s happened again.

Last month a cyclist was killed in Los Angeles when a hit-and-run driver plowed into a group of cyclists, leaving her victims lying in the street, where Andy Garcia died after being hit by another vehicle.

Whether he would have survived if she’d stopped at the scene is anyone’s guess.

Now something similar has happened in Orange County.

According to multiple reports, a bike rider was struck by a vehicle at or near the intersection of East Orangethorpe Ave and North Lemon Street in Anaheim around 5:40 am. However, details are still unfolding; the Orange County Register places the time of the collision as 5:55 am, while Google Maps places the intersection in Fullerton, rather than Anaheim.

The reports indicate a driver in an unidentified vehicle reportedly hit the cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, dragging the victim several feet on Orangethorpe before fleeing the scene. The victim was then struck by another vehicle; he or she was pronounced dead at the scene, still trapped under the second car.

No word on how the collision occurred, or what street the victim was riding on. And once again, whether the victim could have survived the initial collision if the driver had stopped, as required by law and basic human decency, is anyone’s guess.

KCBS-2 reports the victim was dragged roughly 20 feet under the first car, while KNBC-4 describes it simply as several feet. However, before their paywall cuts the story off, the Register writes that the bike was found lying in the street about 150 feet behind where the victim’s body was found, suggesting it may have been dragged a considerable distance.

That would be consistent with the description of where the rider was hit by the second car. Reports indicate he ended up in front of a church; Google’s satellite view shows The Rock some distance east of Lemon Street.

KNBC-4 also indicates the first driver hit another car as the driver fled the scene after hitting the cyclist.

Who was at fault for the initial collision is still to be determined.

However, if there is any justice in this case, the first driver should face a homicide charge on the assumption that the victim might have survived if the heartless coward behind the wheel hadn’t dragged him or her beneath the car, then left the victim lying in the street to be hit by someone else.

This is the 74th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Orange County this year; it’s also the second in Anaheim since the first of the year. This is also the 16th fatal hit-and-run involving a bike rider this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her family. 

Thanks to Alan Thompson for the heads-up.

Update: An email from John reports passing the scene this morning, and witnessing police activity on Orangethorpe east of Lemon, as well as several hundred feet north of Orangethorpe on Lemon, where he saw several pieces of blood-soaked clothing. While he can’t say that the two sites are definitely connected, it suggests that the collision may have occurred on Lemon, ending on Orangethorpe. 

Meanwhile, KABC-7 reports that one driver managed to swerve around the victim before he was hit was hit by the second car. 

Anyone with information is urged to contact OC Crime Stoppers at (855) TIP-OCCS.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 19-year old Fullerton resident Manuel Morales Rodriguez. According to the LA Times, a suspect has been identified, but has not been arrested or charged.

Update: Anaheim bike rider killed by train; OC Register holds details for ransom

This is exactly what I’ve been worried about.

Ever since the Orange County Register announced their draconian paywall policy requiring even the most casual online visitors to subscribe to the paper to read a single article, I’ve feared what would happen the next time a bike rider died behind the Orange Curtain.

And tonight, those fears have been realized.

According to the brief introduction to the story the paper posted online, a man was struck and killed by a Metrolink train while walking his bicycle along railroad tracks in Anaheim. The collision occurred around 4:30 pm on the tracks south of La Palma Ave and east of Pauline Street.

If there is any more information, it is hidden behind the paper’s login page.

Hopefully, another publication will provide the details the paper is keeping to itself. Because as it stands now, the Orange Curtain has become as opaque as a digital Berlin Wall.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. It’s also the second bike rider killed by a train since the first of the year.

My prayers go out to the victim and his loved ones.

Update: A comment from Calwatch below identifies the victim as Andrew Powell of Fullerton, and places the time of death at before 3:30 pm, rather than 4:30.

Another comment from Carlos P offers a second-hand eye-witness report:

my brother was in the number 1 lane going east bound right up front and a white van was next to him in the number 2 lane. when a pedestrian tried to cross the tracks west bound after the arms were down. my brother and the van both saw the train coming and blowing his horn over and over again and the pedestrian never even looked up. my brother honked his horn as well to get the pedestrians attention but to no avail. instead of running and leaving his bike there, the pedestrian was hit by the train. my brother saw him fly through the air and land up against a chain link fence. sad situation.

Update 2: A source reports that Powell was actually the victim of another train collision, and that the victim of Monday’s bike-involved collision has not yet been identified.

There’ve been two Metrolink fatalities in OC in the past week. The first was a pedestrian on Friday afternoon; that was Fullerton resident Andrew Powell, who would’ve turned 21 next week. That collision occurred between the Fullerton & Buena Park stations.

Monday’s fatality occurred about 3 miles down Metrolink’s Orange County Line. Southbound Metrolink train 686 had just picked up speed after departing Fullerton station. This section of tracks, between an industrial area & a flood control basin, has a very slight curve, so it’s a crossing the engineer would have sounded on approach. On the south side of La Palma Avenue, it struck a guy pushing his bike on the tracks.

According to Anaheim PD, the victim hasn’t been identified, so his next of kin haven’t been notified yet. There’ll be an autopsy, but the coroner is “kind of backed up right now,” says a clerk, so it may be next week before it’s completed.

Breaking news: Cyclist killed early this morning after leaving her job at Disneyland

This is not the way we wanted to start our day.

The Daily Breeze was the first to report that an employee of Disneyland was hit by an SUV and killed on her way home from work this morning.

The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing over the Santa Ana Freeway (I-5) on eastbound Ball Road just outside the park when she was hit from behind by an Ford SUV around 12:30 am. The vehicle hit her at an estimated speed of 40 mph, throwing the rider 60 feet before landing on the pavement. She was taken to UCI Medical Center in nearby Orange, where she was pronounced dead.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been in that area, but as I recall, 40 mph is within or near the speed limit in that area. However, it is widely reported that someone hit at that speed has only a 20% chance of survival, making most major surface streets in Southern California death traps for anyone not wrapped in a ton or more of steel and glass.

(The Minnesota DOT cites a 15% survivability rate at 40 mph [pp15] , while the Times of London cites a 10% survival rate in an article dated May 16, 2008, but won’t allow me to link to it.)

At 40 mph — let alone being thrown 20 yards — whether or not she was wearing a helmet is largely irrelevant, as the rate of speed far surpasses the design capabilities of any bicycle helmet. And helmets can’t protect against injuries to any other part of the body, which are highly likely at that speed.

What is far more relevant is whether she was using lights and reflectors to ride at night. Judging by photos of the scene, she should have been easily visible on the overpass; even without lights, most freeway overpasses are well lighted at night.

The driver did stop at the scene, and passed a field sobriety test. While it sometimes seems like most collisions are hit-and-runs, the driver actually remains at the seen 68% of the time, according to statistics from Bikeside LA.

This is also the 2nd hit-from-behind fatality since Gov. Brown vetoed the three-foot passing law.

How much blood will he have on his hands before he admits the massive mistake he made in taking the advice of two state agencies that care far more about moving cars than protecting cyclists?

This is the 58th confirmed traffic-related bicycling fatality in the greater Southern California area, and the 7th in Orange County, which is a significant improvement over the county’s average of over 1 fatality per month.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Anaheim Police at (714) 765-1900.

My heart and prayers go out to all her family and friends.


I have a long list of links for your reading pleasure, but it always seems inappropriate to attach them to a tragic story like this. I’ll try to get them online later today.

9-Year old cyclist killed in Anaheim

In yet another heartbreaking incident in a very bad week for SoCal cyclists, a 9-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in Anaheim Thursday afternoon.

In what Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez called “just an ugly, ugly accident,” the child — who has not been publicly identified — was riding home from school on the sidewalk when he was struck.

According to the Orange County Register, he stopped his bike at the intersection of W. Orangewood Avenue and Loara Street and waited to cross; when the driver of a raised Ford pickup truck stopped at the intersection, he rode his bike out into the crosswalk. At the same time, the driver pulled forward, striking the boy.

According to the driver, he never saw the boy, and he was not cited by police. Evidently, California drivers are no longer required to be cautious, alert and aware of their surroundings when behind the wheel.

I’m sure the driver is devastated. Lord knows I would be.

But somehow, I don’t think “Oops” should be a universal Get Out Of Jail Free card for someone who kills another human being. Especially not an innocent child who, by all accounts, was riding in a safe and legal manner.

My heart and prayers go out to his family.

UPDATE: KCBS Channel 2 quotes Sgt. Martinez as saying “We’ve been talking to the driver and there’s no indication that he did anything wrong or illegal.”

The report says the driver was not able to see the cyclist directly in front of him due to the height of the truck. So, a driver can operate an unsafe vehicle — which may or may not be legal, yet which by its very design prevents him from seeing something directly in front of him — and the police are just fine with that.

Am I the only one who’s stomach is turning right now?

And it’s not just cyclists. This has been a very bad week for anyone on the streets not protected by steel and glass.

UPDATE 2: The OC Register has identified the cyclist as Nicholas Vela, a 4th grade student at Alexander J. Stoddard Elementary School.

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