Tag Archive for Chula Vista

Update: Chula Vista bike rider killed by drunk driver in stolen car

A drunk driver. A stolen car. A dead cyclist.

A San Diego area bike rider has lost his life at the hands of a criminal apparently too drunk to control the car he stole.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, 29-year old Michael Reyes was traveling westbound on Chula Vista’s East J Street at Dennis Avenue around 4:15 pm Monday when he somehow crossed into oncoming traffic. He hit cyclist head-on before crossing over the sidewalk and crashing into a utility pole.

Reyes allegedly admitted to the police that he had been drinking, and that the silver Nissan Maxima  he was driving had been stolen earlier that afternoon. Inside the car, police found property that appeared to come from other car burglaries.

The 44-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was taken to UC San Diego Medical Center where he died.

There was nothing the victim could have done to avoid the collision. He does not appear to have done anything to contribute in any way to his own death, other than being in the wrong place at the wrong time, sharing the same planet with a drunk on a crime spree.

If there is any justice, his killer won’t be back behind the wheel of any car, stolen or otherwise, for a very long time.

This is the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County. This is also the fourth cyclist killed in Chula Vista since 2012.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 44-year old Chula Vista resident David Voight. According to San Diego’s 10News, Voight was a regular bike commuter, and was just eight blocks from his home when he was killed. 

Another bike victim In San Bernardino; cyclist seriously injured in Chula Vista; and charges in October OC hit-and-run

Let’s hope bad news just comes in twos this time.

Less than 24 hours after news broke that a bike rider had lost his life at the hands of a drunk driver in Huntington Beach Wednesday night, news is coming in that another rider died earlier that evening, this time in San Bernardino.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the 43-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding west on the 1200 block of West Kendall Drive around 6:40 pm when she swerved across the roadway. While riding against traffic in the number 1 (left) lane of the roadway, she was apparently hit head-on by an eastbound Mustang driven by a 20-year old woman.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on why she suddenly started riding against traffic. But let this serve as a reminder to never ride salmon — let alone in the middle of the roadway — and always be aware of other traffic on the roadway before making any sudden moves.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and all her loved ones.

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More bad news comes from San Diego County, where a bike rider suffered life threatening injuries in a collision with a truck in Chula Vista.

According to San Diego’s 10News, the victim was apparently crossing the offramp to the southbound I-805 at Bonita Road when he was hit by a truck exiting the freeway around 10 pm Wednesday.

Google’s satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane leading up to the offramp.

Police say the driver stayed at the scene and did not appear to be under the influence.

The station reports initial evidence suggests the rider was at fault. However, traffic exiting the freeway is required to yield to through traffic; unless the victim was riding against traffic or failed to observe a traffic signal, it’s hard to imagine how he could have been at fault.

If police are saying he did go through a red light, the question is whether there are any independent witnesses other than the truck driver to attest to that, and if the signalization provided enough time to get across the intersection.

Either way, it sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order once again.

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Jeffrey Fylling forwards word that Orange County prosecutors have filed charges against the truck driver who killed 19-year old cyclist Manuel Morales Rodriguez last October.

Forty-eight year old Filemon Reynaga was to be arraigned on Friday on one count of felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

Reynaga is accused of hitting Rodriguez as he pulled his semi truck out of an Anaheim driveway, then dragging the victim and his bike under his truck for up to 150 feet before fleeing the scene without stopping. Rodriguez was then hit by a second vehicle, which remained at the scene, and died as a result of inures suffered in the two collisions.

If convicted, Reynaga faces up to five years in state prison. He’s currently free on a ridiculously low $50,000 bail.

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Finally, while we’re on the subject, I received this email from a rider troubled by all the recent bicycling deaths in Orange County, following the death of Matthew Liechty on Edwards Street in Huntington Beach on Wednesday. (Note: I added the links.)

But take fair warning. It’s a difficult read. And the last line hits like a punch in the gut.

Edwards became an alternate commute route for me after Roger Lippmann’s slaughter… until I realized that swinging over to PCH took me right past Becki Lee James’ house, which creeps me out. And now I’m disinclined take Goldenwest (whose “vicious hills” had become “gentle rollers” pretty quick after I abandoned the flat PCH commute) because I’ll picture the crunched-up Camry in the Ralph’s parking lot.

Have I ever passed this Matt Liechty on my commute? Was he the guy with the really, really bright headlamp? Were the distant sirens I heard last night responding to this incident?

What. the. holy. serious. fuck. Can’t I have a single fucking street on my commute where somebody hasn’t been slaughtered? Is that too much to ask?

And that piece you linked to recently about ghosts… I see those ghosts everywhere, sometimes in visual incarnations. New flowers on Lippmann’s memorial, a year and a half later? I hit the brakes and looked out at the sunshine sparkling on the water and wanted to apologize to him at the top of my lungs because he got a death sentence and his killer only got six years. Every time I pass 9th Street in Sunset Beach, every time, I still see the sea breeze blowing the ashes left behind by the flares set down for the investigation of Kenneth Prevatte’s death: gray ashes, grey asphalt, gray clouds. At 43rd & Wadsworth, where nobody from Perry’s office which announced it could be bothered to show up for a joke of a so-called press conference, I nearly caused a pile-up on RWNN last summer when I recognized the intersection as we entered it and idiotically froze, because I was seeing the ghost that no one else on that ride saw.

I see these ghosts because if I forget then I’ve left a rider behind and I can’t leave a rider behind.

Bike rider killed in Sunday Chula Vista collision; two riders injured in separate SoCal shootings

This was not a good weekend to be a bike rider in Southern California.

Following on the heels of Saturday’s infamous Mulholland motorcycle crash that mowed down two riders — more on that later — word comes this morning that a bike rider died in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista Sunday night.

Multiple sources are reporting that the 59-year old rider, whose identity is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was crossing Palomar Street at Industrial Boulevard when he was struck by a westbound vehicle and critically injured around 7:30 pm. He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died later last night.

The driver remained on the scene; police said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

No other details are available at this time.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this yea, and the third in San Diego County. The victim is also the second bike rider to die in San Diego County in the past week.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his loved ones.

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Adding to the weekend’s carnage was the apparently unrelated shootings of two bike riders over the weekend.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, an unidentified rider was shot and wounded while riding on the Rio Hondo Bike Path around 4 pm Sunday.

The man reported hearing gunshots from an unknown location before discovering he had been hit by two bullets. Fortunately, his injuries were not life-threatening.

In a separate case, the L.A. Times reports that a 27-year old man was shot in the back from a passing car while riding his bike along South Hoover Street at Manchester Avenue around 3:45 this morning.

The victim is in stable condition at at local hospital. No description of the suspect or the vehicle used is currently available.

Thanks to Rick Risemberg for the link to the Times article.

Police say the shooting may have been gang-related, not surprising given the drive-by nature of the incident.

Update: 8th Southern California cyclist killed in last 8 days, as Chula Vista cyclist dies in solo fall

I don’t even know what to say any more.

In the single worst period in memory for Southern California cyclists, eight riders have now died since Friday of last week, as a Chula Vista cyclist succumbed to injuries suffered yesterday in a solo fall.

According to a release from the Chula Vista police, a 39-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin, was riding northbound on Broadway near C Street around 2:50 pm. A witness saw him lose control going downhill and tumble on the roadway, suffering a serious head injury.

He died shortly after being transported to the UC San Diego Medical Center.

The report notes that the victim was not wearing a helmet; for once, that actually might matter, since this would seem to be exactly the sort of collision bike helmets are designed to protect against.

Eight deaths.

A rate of one a day, distributed throughout the seven county SoCal region — although, as you’ll see below, San Diego County has suffered far more than their share, accounting for well over half of the cycling deaths in the last week.

And from a wide spectrum of causes, from solo falls to late night hit and runs, and cyclists of seemingly every possible description.

If there’s a common element, I can’t find it. And I have no idea how to stop this outrageous streak of roadway carnage.

All I know is this can’t go on.

It just can’t.

At the end of May, we were on a pace for just 48 bicycling deaths this year; as of today, that’s risen to 68.

This is the 37th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in San Diego County — the same rate as Los Angeles County, but with less than one-third the population. He was also the fifth cyclist to die in San Diego County in just the last eight days.

And he was the eighth cyclist to die in a solo riding incident since the first of the year.

My prayers and condolences to the victim and his loved ones. And my prayers for everyone who rides today; may you all return home safely.

Thanks to Sam at Bike SD for the heads-up.

Update: The San Diego Union-Tribune identifies the victim as 39-year old George Sandoval of Chula Vista. According to the paper, Sandoval was riding on the sidewalk when he began of steer his bike into the street; his front wheel somehow detached and his fork dug into the road, throwing his over his handlebars and onto the street. He was pronounced dead a little more than an hour later.

Let this be a reminder to have your bike checked out by a qualified mechanic on a regular basis to avoid mechanical failures like this.

Breaking news: arrest made in Mel’s Drive-In beating case; two cycling victims identified

Just a quick note, as my other job — the one that actually results in income on all too rare occasions — is keeping me tied up tonight.

However, I don’t want the day to pass without a quick update on a few cases we’ve discussed here recently.

First up, I’ve received confirmation that the driver who severely beat a cyclist in front of Mel’s Drive-In in Sherman Oaks last month has been identified, and an arrest has been made.

According to LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the victim was supposed to be told of the arrest today (Monday).

As you may recall, the cyclist was riding on Ventura Blvd when he was honked at, then dangerously buzzed by a pickup truck coming up from behind. When he saw the same truck at Mel’s Drive-In moments later, he stopped to confront the driver.

But instead of arguing with the rider, the driver responded by knocking him down and repeatedly kicking him in the face.

There was some concern that the driver of the Oregon-licensed truck would leave the state before an arrest could be made — particularly since the LAPD detective in charge of the case had reportedly taken no action 48 hours after the assault due to a heavy caseload.

And there was some question whether the person driving the truck — and who attacked the cyclist — was the owner of the truck.

There’s no word yet on the identity of the driver, or what charges he will face.

But the simple fact that an arrest has been made is a positive step forward.

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Today also put names to the victims of two fatal bike collisions.

The cyclist killed in a solo fall yesterday has been identified as 47-year old Luis H. Esparza of La Puente. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, he was riding on the sidewalk when he collided with a raised metal mailbox and fell into the street, striking his head on the curb.

The incident took place in the Bassett area of unincorporated L.A. County.

And no, Esparza was not wearing a helmet, even though this is exactly the sort of collision bike helmets are designed to protect against.

This time, it may have cost him his life.

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Finally, Philip Young forwarded word today that the cyclist killed while riding past an elementary school in Chula Vista last January was 77-year old Robert Howard Marshall. Marshall was a 20-year Navy veteran who had served in Korea and Vietnam, and left behind a wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Maybe it’s just me. But it strikes me as vital to put a name to every cycling victim when we can, so we can remember them for the people they were, and not just tragic statistics.

Bad day in San Diego area, as one cyclist is killed and another critically injured

Just heartbreaking.

A 77-year old cyclist was killed while riding past a school in Chula Vista Thursday morning, and another cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries in a second collision Thursday afternoon.

In the first case, the victim was riding past Chula Vista’s Rice Elementary School when an employee of the school, described only as “elderly,” pulled out of the parking lot around 8:30 am, hitting the cyclist with her Jeep Cherokee. The rider, whose name has been withheld, was taken to a nearby hospital where he died about an hour later.

It’s unsure if the driver will face charges, though the police note the victim did have the right-of-way.

This is the 5th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in San Diego County. And we’re less than three weeks into the new year.

In the second case, a cyclist in his mid 40’s was riding in the bike lane on Sorrento Valley Blvd east of Whispering Heights Lane when he was rear-ended by a Toyota driven by a 75-year old woman about 1:05 pm.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports the rider was thrown from his bike and run over by the car, which ended up against a tree with the unconscious cyclist trapped underneath. A police spokesman said at least three witnesses saw the collision; one told police the driver was using a cell phone just before the collision.

According to the paper, doctors say he will be a paraplegic if he survives.

My heart and prayers to both victims and their loved ones.

Update: The victim has been identified as Robert Howard Marshall of Chula Vista, a 20-year Navy veteran of Korea and Vietnam. He leaves behind his wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

That’s what’s so heartbreaking about any traffic fatality. It’s not a statistic, but a real human being with a life and loved ones. And whose death leaves a huge hole that can never be filled in the live of everyone who knew him.

Thanks to Philip Young for forwarding the identification.

……..

A couple of other quick notes.

A memorial service will be held for Hollywood writer/producer Carol Schreder at noon Sunday, March 4th at the Aero Theater at Montana and 14th in Santa Monica. As you may recall, she was killed by an out-of-control van on Mulholland Hwy in the Malibu Hills last month; at last word, the CHP was still unwilling to take action against the driver, despite repeated reports that he was speeding and driving recklessly prior to the collision.

Bike advocate Richard Risemberg, aka Mr. Bicycle Fixation, writes to remind us about this weekend’s midnight bike movies at the Vista Theater in Silverlake, with four short films all set in the world of L.A. bicycling.

Finally, congratulation to new LACBC board members Herbie Huff, Lynn Ingram and Efren Moreno. Alex Amerri was elected board president at the board meeting on Wednesday, with Steve Boyd as Vice President and Greg Laemmle elected Treasurer; Scott Moore continues as Secretary. Alex replaces outgoing President Chet Kostrzewa, who has done a great job guiding the Coalition through a period of rapidly expanding influence over the past few years and will be very missed.

My apologies to everyone looking for an analysis of last year’s cycling fatalities, as I had promised on Twitter Thursday. Unfortunately, today’s bad news takes precedence; barring any further breaking news, I’ll have the story online Monday. Look for some very surprising findings, including the possibility that neither L.A. or the door zone is as dangerous as you might think.

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