Tag Archive for Becki James

Possible justice, and justice delayed, in OC; CPP students and faculty remember Ivan Aguilar

A couple quick updates on legal cases from behind the Orange Curtain.

I’m told that Joel Alexander Murphy, the driver accused of slaughtering cyclist Roger Lippmann in a high speed PCH hit-and-run last June, has pleaded guilty to all charges against him, which at one time included felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and violating probation for prior drug offenses.

Sentencing is scheduled for next month; my source says the prosecutor in the case is tough as nails, so we should be able to expect some significant jail time.

Meanwhile, the same source tells me that lawyers for Juli Ann Brown, the driver charged with running down three cyclists in a drunken Seal Beach hit-and-run last February, have had a lot of meetings in chambers, which suggests they may be working out a plea deal. She already has at least two prior DUI convictions, so anything less than actual jail time — and permanent loss of her license — would be a significant miscarriage of justice.

And still no charges against Becki Lee James, who was arrested last July on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of cyclist Kenneth Prevatte. Kind of makes you wonder what the OC DA is waiting on.

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That petition calling on Governor Brown to sign a three-foot passing law after screwing cyclists vetoing similar bills twice was up to 78 signatures in less than one day the last I checked. If you haven’t already, take a moment to sign now and send a message that it’s long past time to protect our safety; not everyone agrees, though.

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A ghost bike was installed for fallen Cal Poly Pomona student Ivan Aguilar Thursday. LACBC-affiliate chapter Pomona Valley Bicycle Coalition calls on the university to create a safer and more bike-friendly campus, while CLR Effect offers moving photos of the tribute.

Meanwhile, a writer for several Inland Empire publications somehow managed to capture the moment beautifully, in just 140 characters:

The silence among the hundreds of those left behind at the memorial after the bicyclists ride off is broken only by frequent sniffling.

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The Times looks at the idea of taxing bikes; I’ve said before I wouldn’t object to a reasonable fee if all the funds raised went to improving bikeways and safety. DTLA Bikes invites you to ride with them on the last Sunday of each month. Hopefully, the rain will stop in time for ArtNight Pasadena Friday night. The Culver City police team with Target to give a 10-year old girl a new bike after hers is wrecked in a collision.

Once again, police crack down on the victims of our auto-centric streets rather than the ones who place them at risk, this time in San Diego. Now’s your chance to make La Jolla more bike friendly; it wasn’t very when I lived down that way. A Sacramento-area high school coach is killed in a bizarre bicycling accident when he’s impaled on a metal gate after he looks back to wave at a student; thanks to Louie Garcia for the heads-up. San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere will stand trial for felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of a pedestrian last year; if we expect to hold drivers accountable for their actions behind the wheel, we should expect cyclists to be held to the same standard. A Chico man may have ridden his bike to a highway overpass at 2:30 am, leaned it against the railing and jumped to his death. Teams are announced for the Amgen Tour of California.

Elly Blue explains how to bike to the airport. A marketing specialist says it’s time to tone down the bike evangelism. Commuter Age offers a big FU to Opel for their blatant attempt to sell cars using bikes. Portland businesses seek out spaces next to bike lanes. The new healthcare plan pisses an Iowa cyclist off so much he’s riding 7,000 miles at age 70 to protest it; no, I don’t really get it either. A proposed 924 mile off-road hiking and biking route would connect Michigan and Wisconsin. Bikeyface suggests bike shops are ignoring the future of bicycling. A Boston-area woman is 61, deaf and rides her bike everywhere. Bikes mean business on Capital Hill.

UK cyclists saved their country’s economy tens of million of pounds and kept hundreds of thousands of tonnes, uh, tons of carbon emissions out of the air; no wonder Brit drivers hate them. Even cardinals on their way to elect a new pope ride bikes. An Aussie car passenger warned the driver about a cyclist five seconds before he hit the rider. A dooring could silence a New Zealand string quartet for three months.

Finally, an Israeli town plans an innovative elevated bikeway to allow cyclists to U-turn without crossing the road. Nice, but somehow I can’t picture anyone actually using it, especially since it only works for people who don’t want to ride past the city limits; seems much easier to just turn around.

Update: Cyclist killed by alleged DUI driver in Sunset Beach identified as 52-year old Long Beach resident

More bad news.

Word is just coming in that yet another Southern California bicyclist has been killed — the 13th to die on SoCal streets this month alone.

According to a report from KTLA-5, the cyclist, who has not yet been publicly identified, was riding on northbound Pacific Coast Highway in Huntington Beach when he was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver around 4:19 pm Saturday.

The collision occurred at the intersection of 8th Street and PCH in the Sunset Beach district. Emergency responders found the victim lying unconscious and seriously injured in the middle of the roadway; he was declared dead at the scene.

No word yet on how the collision occurred, however, police arrested the driver, Becki Lee James of Huntington Beach, on suspicion of driving under the influence.

Anyone with information is urged to call police at 714/536-5670.

This is the 42nd cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and 7th in Orange County; the victim is also the 6th cyclist killed by a suspected drunk driver in SoCal this year.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and his family.

Update: An anonymous source has identified the victim as 52-year old Kenneth Prevatte, which has just been confirmed by the Orange County Register; the Register says he’s from Long Beach. A comment from Allan indicates that he was wearing full road kit when he was killed, suggesting that he may have been an experienced road rider.

My source indicates that Becki James was charged with felony DUI causing great bodily injury & gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and has already been released from custody.

Update 2: A comment from Boyonabike reminds us that Prevatte’s death comes just a little over a month after Roger Lippman was killed while riding on PCH, and five months since Ernest Klein died in a collision on Bolsa Ave — making this the 3rd fatal cycling collision in Huntington Beach in less than six months.

It also points a bloody finger at the beachside city, with a population of less than 200,000. as one of the most dangerous places in Southern California to ride a bike. As a comparison, San Diego, with twice as many deaths this year, has over six times the population.

Meanwhile, a comment from Jeff Keller offers more details on the collision.

As clarification, the cyclist and vehicle were driving southbound on PCH. This happened a few hundred feet from a party we were attending. The cyclist was laying near a parked car, not the middle of the street. His bike was on the sidewalk, mangled and unrecognizable. The vehicle that hit him stopped a few feet away. I did not see any skidmarks. If she stopped in the path that she hit him, she was 2-3 feet to the right of the right lane line, putting her in the path of the “bike lane”. It appeared his head hit the top of the passenger’s window, near the roof line. Sadly and disturbing, the driver’s emotions were muted. Not of someone that just killed an innocent human.

And Kenneth Prevatte’s sister writes to tell us a little bit about who he was, and the family he leaves behind.

My name is Michelle, I am Kenneth’s sister. I live in North Carolina and our family is devastated by his death. Thank you for your posts, any information is so appreciated as we piece together this tragedy. My brother was an experienced cyclist, extremely cautious, and conscientious. He leaves behind a loving wife, whom he just wed last July, a beautiful infant son, 2 sons and a daughter all in college, parents, a sister and many more loved ones. He was such a good, good man, words cannot express the depths of this loss. I hope that his death will not be in vain and something can be done to protect cyclists in your beautiful part of our country.

Update 3: A source who has spoken with paramedics on the scene says that Prevatte most likely died instantly of severe head trauma, despite wearing a helmet, and was unlikely to have experienced any pain or possibly even known what was happening. Thank God for small favors, anyway.

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