Tag Archive for Joel Alexander Murphy

Breaking news: Joel Alexander Murphy gets serious jail time in DUI hit-and-run death of Roger Lippman

I’ve just gotten word that Joel Alexander Murphy has been sentenced to up to 15 years in prison for the drunken, high-speed hit-and-run collision that took the life of Orange County cyclist Roger Lippman.

Lippman was riding north on PCH along the Bolsa Chica Wetlands last June when he was run down from behind by a car driven by Murphy; a witness reported seeing his body flying over 100 feet through the air following the impact.

Instead of stopping, Murphy continued on until he had second collision a few miles away, crashing into the fence surrounding the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station. He was arrested at the scene, and booked on suspicion of 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, including DUI, dating back to 2005.

Last month Murphy changed his plea to guilty, reportedly without a deal in place.

On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 years in state prison on one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, along with an additional five years for fleeing the scene. The terms are to be served consecutively, with the five-year sentence specifically excluding any eligibility for parole.

Which means that we can expect Murphy to be off the streets for at least the next 10 years at the bare minimum.

It doesn’t bring Lippman back.

But for once, a killer driver gets more than just a slap on the wrist.

Meanwhile, my source reminds me that the Orange County DA’s office still has not filed charges against Becki Lee James in the allegedly drunken death of cyclist Kenneth Prevatte just a month later and a few miles up the road, despite receiving a final report from the Huntington Beach Police Department over six months ago.

Which makes me wonder what exactly they’re waiting for.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Justice denied in Orange County, Lippman ghost bike removed, and Christine Dahab misses her court date

Long Beach filmmaker Danny Gamboa forwards word that justice has been delayed — if not denied — in the case of Duane Parkison, the San Bernardino detective killed in a hit-from-behind collision while riding in Irvine last year.

A Facebook page demanding justice for Parkison notes that the OC DA’s office has indicated they won’t be filing charges, and implies the driver may be receiving some sort of favorable treatment.

Today I got a call from Mike Lubinski at the OC DA’s office. He is possibly releasing a statement to the press and public as to why they did not file charges and asked if I would like it sent to me. I told him I asked for an official reason two months ago and was told by Tom Glazier that the woman did everything she could to avoid the accident. I told him for this reason I do not trust the DA anyway and do not care to read the statement. I mentioned the “lunch” numerous times and asked if the statement brings up the lunch and he said it does not and did not comment further. So, if anyone wants to read the statement they can request it, and when we put up the website with the police report everyone will be able to draw their own conclusions. As for the “lunch”, stay tuned, we are working on getting answers for that.

It goes on to explain the lunch reference, and notes that the Irvine police have recommended charges.

In my opinion, there have been strange twists in the investigation of this. The Irvine Police Dept. found her at fault for two vehicle violations and recommended a charge of Misdemeanor Vehicular Manslaughter but the OC DA will not file charges. In her transcribed statement to the Irvine PD the driver says she had “lunch with the Deputy Sheriff of San Bernardino County”… “something Hoops?” and she goes on to say “he took my husband and I to lunch and was very kind”. Duane was on vacation and this did not occur in the jurisdiction of San Bernardino County so why would anyone have “lunch” with the driver? The family would like to see this “lunch” investigated. For more information, please come to the “Justice for Duane Parkison” facebook page.

It does raise questions as to why the DA is apparently ignoring the recommendations of the Irvine police in this case.

Call me crazy, but I thought it was up to a judge and jury to decide whether she actually did everything she could to avoid the collision.


An anonymous reader sends word that the ghost bike installed for fallen cyclist Roger Lippman has already been removed — evidently by the heartless folks at Caltrans, who don’t seem to want any reminders of how dangerous their roadways really are.

Roger Lippman’s ghost bike is gone.  It was there yesterday, but gone this morning.  The fake purple flowers I had woven into the post it was chained to were left lying on the sand.

I specifically chose purple after a quote from the book The Color Purple.  According to the character Celie, the Lord knows purple is pretty and that’s exactly why he puts so little of it in the world. He’s “just wanting to share a good thing.  I think it pisses God off when you walk by the color purple in a field and don’t notice it.” Well, imagine how pissed He is whenever some idiot fails to notice His master work, which He created in his own image, just because a goddam text or “one for the road” is so much more important.  I kind of imagine that the Joel Alexander Murphys of the world will be bitchslapped straight out through the back wall of the universe if they hop on the “up” elevator by mistake.


Dj Wheels offers a couple of legal updates.

First up is the news that a bench warrant has been put on hold for Christine Dahab after she failed to appear for a scheduled court date. Dahab is the driver charged with felony DUI and DWI after plowing into a group of late night riders in Culver City last year, injuring 13 riders; an LAPD officer investigating the case suggested that the collision was the riders fault for evidently staging a drunken orgy in the street.

Wheels speculates that her failure to appear may be related to Dahab’s pregnancy; if she doesn’t appear by August 16th, a warrant for her arrest will be issued.

Meanwhile, road raging Angeles Crest driver Earl Cox is going to trial as we speak.


LAPD reminds everyone to be on the lookout for the driver who killed Paul Albert Helfen in an early morning Nordhoff Street hit-and-run on June 22nd. And notes there’s a $50,000 reward for information.

If you don’t want to get involved, send the information to me. I’d love to get this SOB off the streets.

And I could use the money.


Great Streetsblog profile of the cycling group Cast a Shadow, riding next week to raise funds for clean water in Africa.


LACBC’s former award-winning City of Lights program is transforming into a new organization to be called Multicultural Communities for Mobility. KPCC offers a great report on last weekend’s Wolfpack Hustle midnight singlespeed drag race;, while a rider captures a helmet cam view. Santa Monica bike advocates and staffers question funding for the city’s ambitious bike action plan. After losing his father to the disease, an Israeli man rides from Malibu to NYC to fight cancer. A Long Beach cyclist pedals his bike across the country in 46 days, and chronicles his story in an e-book.

Corona cyclists won’t see sharrows on the coast highway until fall. A Newport Beach rider writes about where it all went wrong in the first part of a first-person story. Bike SD reports that a San Diego cyclist is on life support following a June hit-and-run. San Diego is joining the rest of the civilized world in scrapping its bike licensing program. An Ocean Beach writer says if you’re going to ride, follow the rules. A tax on sugar could have unintended consequences for cyclists who use sports drinks, bars and gels. A Santa Cruz writer says parents should set an example for their kids by wearing a helmet. Lodi cyclists will soon get new artistic bike racks. The 18-month old Fresno girl critically injured in the drunken crosswalk collision that killed her 7-year old sister and injured their father has come out of a medically-induced coma; the driver had a .11 BAC. A Modesto teacher is killed in a left cross while riding in Santa Cruz at around 40 mph, after the driver says he never saw him; thanks to Brian Skaggs and Don Blount for the heads-up. Campbell CA cyclists are reeling from two bicycling fatalities in just 30 hours. Bad roads will continue to contribute to collisions for cyclists, and everyone else on them, according to a Bay Area report. A Bay to L.A. bike tour will take place this month to support Prop 37, requiring the labeling of genetically modified organisms.

Crashing and the five stages of grief. A Seattle cyclist steals his bike back a year after it was stolen, no thanks to the police. Minnesota attempts to ease cycling with a new mobile app. A 90-year old WI driver faces charges after running down a cyclist while mistakenly driving on a separated bike path. A New York cyclist builds his own protected bike lane to keep cops from double parking in it. Nine New York cyclists share their favorite rides in the city. The New York Post rabidly says pull the plug as NYC’s bike share hits a minor speed bump. Once again, a NY cyclist is critically injured, but it’s nobody’s fault. Charlotte’s new bike share system will be a legacy of the Democratic National Convention. A Michigan cyclist on a cross-country tour is killed by semi-truck in Georgia. A Florida rider is found guilty of illegally leaving a bike lane — with about 30 other riders — despite the testimony of the rider they were passing, because the judge believed the blind man officer who didn’t see the rider they were passing.

Montreal police are investigating whether a driver intentionally ran down a cyclist after yelling at him to use the bike path. A UK driver is convicted of killing a bike riding father of three while showing off for a woman; it was his second hit-and-run in six years. Motherhood and Olympic cycling medals do mix after all. American cycling scion Taylor Phinney firmly establishes himself as the fourth best cyclist in the Games, after finishing just off the podium in both the road race and the time trial. Gold medalist and Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins backs mandatory helmet laws  — or maybe not — after a cyclist is run over by a bus, even though a helmet would not have helped in the slightest in this case. The London Times offers an even-handed look at the debate. The London Telegraph says the time for talking has stopped and it’s time to actually do something about bike safety. Scottish traffic cameras cut accident and injury rates. Funding bike advocacy could help the bike industry sell 30 million more bikes. An Aussie cyclist crashes because his coffee was too hot. Brisbane police are on the lookout for a spitting cyclist.

Finally, once again, Bikeyface nails it. And are you a velocapitalist?

A heartwarming story to end your week, a bunch of legal updates and week’s worth of links

Now that there’s finally a lull in this week’s rash of bad news, let’s catch up on all the news that’s been on hold this week.


First off, maybe you remember the story.

It was about a year and a half back, when I told the tale of a hero bus rider who jumped off his Commuter Express bus after a long day at the DWP to stop a bike thief, and rescue the prized ride of a total stranger.

It’s one of my favorite stories I’ve told on here, second only, perhaps, to a pair of female triathletes who saved two men from drowning off the Malibu coast.

And I was there last year when Good Samaritan Hospital, where the owner of the bike, Dan McLaughlin, serves as a vice president, honored him at the annual Blessing of the Bicycles.

But after that, I lost track of the story until L.A. Times writer Nita Lelyveld gave me a call a few weeks back.

What I didn’t know was that the story didn’t end that day when McLaughlin handed his bike’s rescuer a plaque in front of a group of gathered cyclists. They had become friends, bonding over bikes, and Bolivar and his wife had even taken to riding a tandem together.

It’s a beautiful story. And one that Nita tells beautifully.

It’s definitely a must read, if you haven’t already.


My apologies to Shane Feldon.

I had promised to write this week about a new light system currently looking for funding on Kickstarter. Unlike other bike lights, it doesn’t just attach to your handlebars, but actually is a structural part of your bike.

So it’s always there when you need it, and you never have to worry about forgetting it or having it stolen.

Unless they take your whole bike, of course.

Sadly, there’s only a few hours left to get funded, and it looks like it’s going to end up well short. But if you’ve got some money to invest — or happen to own a bike company — this looks like a great idea with a lot of potential.


Nineteen-year old Korean college student Jin Hyuk Byun has pleaded not guilty to a single charge of hit-and-run causing death for allegedly killing 18-year old Angel Bojorquez as he rode home from work in Rancho Santa Fe last Friday.

The judge recognized the risk Byun posed, calling him “an extreme danger to the community,” as he raised Byun’s bail from $50,000 to $1 million, according to the North County Times.

The NC Times also reports that Byun allegedly stopped after killing Bojorquez — not to render aid or call for help, but to push a broken headlight assembly back into place and strip the torn rubber from his tire before driving home on the bare rim.

Remarkably, he faces a maximum of just four years in prison for leaving another human being to die on the side of the road.

Surely there are other charges the DA can file.

Vehicular homicide might be a good start.


In other legal news, the Highland Community News confirms that Patrick Roraff has entered a guilty plea in the 2010 death of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado, as we discussed Monday; co-defendant Brett Morin is still pleading not guilty.

Dj Wheels reports that Phillip Goldburn Williams, charged with vehicular manslaughter in the July, 2010 death of cyclist Victor Apaseo-Rodriguez in Downtown L.A., has been convicted after changing his plea to no contest.

And walked away with a slightly bruised wrist.

Williams received a three years of probation, $194 in fees, 20 days of Caltrans road work, and 160 hours of community service. Oh, and a whopping 12 hours of anger management; we can only wonder what that’s about.

Meanwhile, his victim received a death sentence, carried out on the bumper of Williams’ Chevy Avalanche.

Wheels also reports that a preliminary hearing took place this week for a very pregnant Christine Dahab, charged with felony counts of driving under the influence causing injury and driving with a blood alcohol count over .08, after injuring 13 cyclists in Culver City in June of last year.

And our anonymous South Bay source reports that Joel Alexander Murphy has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of cyclist Roger Lippman in Huntington Beach last month, as well as for violating his formal parole on drug charges.

I’m also told that both the D.A.’s office and Mothers Against Drunk Driving have been trying to reach out to Lippman’s family and friends to aid in the prosecution and prepare Victim Impact Statements to present to the judge to influence sentencing.


In racing news, David Millar wins stage 12 of the Tour de France, seven years about coming back from a doping ban, in what’s turning into a British dominated race. Cadel Evans cracks in stage 11, while Wiggins tightens his grasp on the lead, and Thomas Voeckler won the first mountain stage of the Tour de France.

Bicycling offers an update on the eight Americans who started this year’s Tour; it ain’t pretty. Meanwhile, young riders Chris Froome and Tejay Van Garderen learn the hard way what it means to be a domestique.

Not content to go after Lance, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency bans his doctors and former trainer, while Armstrong refiles his lawsuit against USADA, and a U.S. representative calls for an investigation into the USADA for wasting time investigating Armstrong. And current former TdF champ Alberto Contador plans to return from his doping ban next month.

It’s been 45 years since British rider Tommy Simpson died in the Tour de France, the first, but sadly not only, fatality in its 109 year history.

The route for the fourth stage of August’s badly named USA Pro Cycling Challenge is in danger, as a giant sinkhole threatens to swallow the roadway.

In local racing, the Easy Reader offers a good wrap up of last weekend’s Manhattan Beach Grand Prix, as Ken Hanson and Shelby Reynolds take the top men’s and women’s categories, respectively.


A new date — and new routes — have been announced for this fall’s CicLAvia, in order to make room for the space shuttle. Here’s your chance to ask CicLAvia’s Stephen Villavaso about the changes. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa offers up a video explaining how CicLAvia is transforming our streets, while Better Bike provides a detailed look at the new areas you’ll experience.


Bill Cosby narrates a 1970s-era public service video about bi-cycling, as he calls it; who knew Santa Ana used to be bike friendly?


A reader sends in this photo of an angry Santa Monica bus driver cursing him out after he asked the driver to be more careful. He notes that Big Blue Bus officials were very helpful in handling his complaint, and that simply taking a photo is often the best thing you can do when confronted with a traffic altercation.

I’ve long been a believer in pulling out a camera when confronted with angry driver.

Especially ones that may have been otherwise distracted.


The monthly Spoke(n) Art ride rolls tomorrow. CD13 City Council candidate Josh Post is hosting a two hour fun ride along the L.A. River bike path on July 22nd to share his vision for a bike-friendly L.A. and revitalization of the L.A. River. If you’re in the market for a new job, Bikes and Hikes LA is looking for in-shape, bilingual tour guides. LADOT will be testing new treatments Sunday for the badly worn Spring Street green bike lanes. BIKAS offers a better than passing grade for L.A.’s new bikeway efforts. Will Campbell creates another great timelapse through Griffith Park. Santa Monica moves forward with their own 13 station bike share program, which may or may not be compatible with the upcoming L.A. bike share; Better Bike asks what role, if any, the Westside Council of Governments will play on the region’s expanding bike share plans. Glendale gives up on the Honolulu Ave road diet, as auto-centric council member Dan Weaver observes that the city’s streets were designed for automobiles, not bicycles; thanks to Michael Wade for the heads-up. The route has been set for Pasadena’s inaugural Gran Fondo. A ghost bike was installed Friday for Larry Schellhase, the cyclist killed when he hit road debris in Redondo Beach last April.

Newport Beach votes on placing sharrows on the East Coast Highway; word from cdmCyclist’s Frank Peters is that they were approved. San Diego cyclists are understandably upset after Caltrans decides to remove a ghost bike for fallen rider Nick Venuto, but manage to save another for Chuck Gilbreth; they’ll also host a ride to honor fallen cyclists Theodore Jones and Angel Bojorquez on July 25th. San Diego hires Safe Moves to provide bike and pedestrian safety training to students. A local resident asks why Coronado isn’t bike friendly. Sharrows are coming to Highway 101 in Solano Beach. The Bert and Ernie approach to sharing the road. Be careful biking with your dog running alongside; or better yet, just don’t. Security video catches a Solvang burglar breaking in to a bike shop and running out with two bikes. Palo Alto moves forward with a new bike plan. Good news, as the Modesto girl seriously injured when she stepped in front of an antique car to save her bike riding brother returns home from the hospital. Cyclists are gaining political influence in the Bay Area, though not everyone is happy with it. A not guilty plea from the driver accused of critically injuring New Zealand pro cyclist Michael Torckler in a Sonoma County hit and run.

The Bike League looks at our own Dorothy Wong. States can’t wait to spend former bike funding on other projects. New pedals double as bike locks. A Portland study shows bicyclists spend more at local business. Clif Bar celebrates its 20th Anniversary by giving Public bikes to their employees. According to a Denver paper, either cruiser bikes rule, or they’re ruining cycling for the rest of us. A micro brewery in my home town converts its parking lot into secure bike parking. Survivors of the devastating Colorado fires say their lives would be better if they could just get rid of those damn bikes. Aspen CO cyclist can now expect to get a warning instead of a ticket. A North Dakota’s Supreme Court rules a cyclist can be convicted of drunk bicycling. Republican candidates in Madison WI unite to oppose a local bike path. Turns out riding a bike in Chicago is safer than riding in the suburbs. A Michigan driver rear-ended and critically injured a rider, then casually continued on to the same casino where his victim worked. Ohio bike lawyer Steve Magas asks if this is the worst crash report ever. A reminder that cyclists aren’t always the good guys, while a Columbus writer says that city’s drivers are courteous, but cyclists are road-hogging jerks who should be ticketed — and describes unsafely passing a rider as proof. New York plans to slow more drivers down to a 20 mph speed limit. Boston’s Lovely Bicycle finds the middle ground in appreciating John Forester, the father of vehicular cycling. Shockingly, it turns out drivers break the law more than cyclists. Turns out that the DC-area cyclist who killed a pedestrian recently wasn’t a spandex-clad maniac after all. North Carolina cyclists ride in honor of Steve Jordan, the state director for mental health, who was killed while riding his bike on the 4th of July. Florida plans to allow bikes on some limited access highways on a trial basis.

A San Diego physician saves the life of a doored cyclist while vacationing in Vancouver. The British Medical Association says curb car use and make room for bikes and pedestrians. From anorexic model to a favorite in team pursuit at the London Olympics. A British Paralympic cyclist sees her games in doubt after she’s Jerry Browned by a passing car. German cyclist Kristina Vogel bounces back from a broken neck to compete in London. A London cyclist rhetorically asks why not just ban bikes entirely after they’re barred from bus and Olympic lanes prior to the games. A British cyclist receives the equivalent of 36 cents in court ordered compensation for his stolen bike. “Pranksters” nearly decapitate a 12-year old English boy by stringing rope across the footbridge he was riding on; yeah, real funny. Tests show cyclists using earphones at a reasonable level can still hear warning sounds from other riders, comparable to a car driver with no music playing. An Aussie cyclist calls for an end to road rage.

Finally, that’s what I call a rough ride, as a Type 1 Diabetic riding in the Tour Divide stops to check his blood sugar, encounters a bear, slides off of an embankment and nearly drowns in a river before making his way back to his bike — and on to a hospital. This is what I call a sharrow. And these are the rules that should govern every bike club:

1) Ride Bikes

2) Try not to be an ass


My apologies to everyone who sent me links this past week. Between all the breaking news and an inadvertent email crash, I’ve completely lost track of who sent me what. But I am grateful to each of you, and hope you’ll all keep sending me more stories as we move forward.

Update: Cyclist killed in Huntington Beach hit-and-run; arrest made in nearby Seal Beach

A bad month for SoCal cyclists just got that much worse when a cyclist was killed in a Huntington Beach hit-and-run late this morning.

According to the Orange County Register, the collision occurred around 11:40 Friday morning on northbound PCH between Seapoint Street and Warner Avenue. The rider, who has been identified only as an adult male, was pronounced dead at the scene.

No details on how the crash occurred are available at this time. However, a commenter on the Register story says they heard the impact, and turned to see the rider flying through the air and skidding over 100 feet, suggesting a high speed hit-from behind collision.

Satellite photos show a long stretch of roadway with only limited access, while the street view reveals a marked shoulder next to a four lane highway, with a 60 mph speed limit. It’s possible the driver may have drifted onto the shoulder, or the cyclist could have been forced into the traffic lane by a parked car or some other obstruction.

But we won’t know until additional information becomes available.

The good news — if there can be good news in a story like this — is that a suspect was arrested about an hour later in nearby Seal Beach.

According to KTLA-5, a man lost control of a 2011 Hyundai and crashed on Westminster Blvd between Bolsa Chica and Seal Beach Blvds. Police investigating the collision discovered the car matched the description of the suspect vehicle in the hit-and-run, and took the driver into custody.

However, KCBS-2 says police were following the suspect by helicopter, and arrested the driver when he ran off the road.

This is the 27th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. The cyclist was also the sixth SoCal rider killed by hit-and-run since the first of the year, and the seventh to die this month.

My prayers for the victim, and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Lois, David Huntsman and Weshigh for the heads-up.

Update: KTLA-5 has identified the victim as 63-year old Roger Michael Lippman of Huntington Beach, listed as a rider in last year’s Palm Desert and Stagecoach Centuries

KNBC-4 confirms that the driver hit Lippman from behind; aerial video shows Lippman’s body covered by a tarp on the right shoulder next to his crumpled bike. The web version of the story shows the bloodied face of the suspect driver, while the embedded video shows the crumpled front end and shattered windshield of the car he was driving, which was registered to a 59-year old Anaheim woman.

Meanwhile, the Times identifies the driver as 27-year old Joel Alexander Murphy of Mission Viejo. A comment from reliable source TQ reports that Murphy has been booked on suspicion of 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, including DUI, dating back to 2005.

And yet, despite all that, he was still behind the wheel.

I’ve also seen unconfirmed reports that Murphy was racing another vehicle at speeds up to 80 mph when he ran off the road and murdered hit Lippman. 

Hopefully, this will be the last time he’s ever allowed to operate a motor vehicle.

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