Tag Archive for Jorge Alvarado

A raft of legal cases — 5 deaths, 4 hit-and-runs, 1 drunken pop star and a justly jailed physician

I haven’t had a lot of opportunity lately to keep up with recent bike-related court cases, or even to update the Legal Cases page on my blog — something I’ll try to get to over the weekend.

Fortunately, local cyclist and attorney Dj Wheels continues to do an incredible job of keeping on top of what’s happening in our local courts, as well as with key trials across the country. This past week, he sent his latest update on some of the cases currently making their way through the courts.

My heartfelt thanks to Wheels, who has done more to keep the local cycling community informed than we could ever thank him for.

Shawn Fields – PA068775 (San Fernando)

Charged in the drunken hit-and-run death of 17-year old Daniel (Danny) Marin on Laurel Canyon Blvd in Pacoima on October 2nd of last year. While any cycling death leave me shaken, this is one that has hit me the hardest. Maybe it was the needless waste of a bright, well-loved young man; maybe it was because he reminds me of myself at that age. Or maybe just because I think I would have liked him if I’d ever had the chance.

Last hearing was held on January 21 – proof of compliance with discovery requests.  Although the Preliminary Hearing had all ready been scheduled for February 2, that hearing was advanced and continued to February 16 in Dept. 502 – Judge Olmedo.  Fields remains out of custody on bail.

Marco Antonio Valencia – PA065011 (San Fernando)

Valencia is charged with killing cyclist Joseph Novotny and seriously injuring two other riders in Santa Clarita’s Bouquet Canyon. He is accused of exhibiting a “willful, wanton disregard for human life,” by driving with a blood alcohol level of .18, as well as methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana in his system at the time of the morning collision. After the wreck, he reportedly told a deputy to shoot him because his life was over; unfortunately, it was Novotny whose life was ended.

After numerous continuances of the trial date, Valencia will probably be on trial by the end of February for DUI/murder charges.  The next hearing is scheduled for February 14 as a 0 of 20 for Trial.  Valencia is still in custody.

Yelena Krupen – 0BV00450 (Beverly Hills)

Beverly Hills model Yelena Krupen was charged with fleeing the scene after hitting cyclist Brandon Chau on Santa Monica Blvd in Beverly Hills, in a case that infuriated local cyclists by demonstrating just how hard it is to get justice if the rider isn’t critically injured.

She was sentenced on December 7 to 25 days county jail for misdemeanor hit and run property damage and driving on a suspended license charges, plus restitution to the victim.  She surrendered on December 27 to the women’s detention facility in Lynwood.  Her projected release date was January 6 according to the Sheriff’s inmate locator page, but it has not been updated with an actual release date.

Jose Luis Huerta Mundo – 10HM05193 (Newport Beach)

He’s charged in the death of popular OC cyclist Michael Nine, who was killed on a group ride when he collided with a truck driven by Mundo, who was in the country illegally after previously being deported. Mundo allegedly made an illegal turn on a blind corner; Nine was riding downhill at speed and was unable to avoid the truck.

Trial was held in mid November and the jury was hung.  Mundo is being re-tried.  Pre-trial conference is scheduled for February 7 and trial is tentatively scheduled for February 28.

Patrick Roraff – FSB1002475 (San Bernardino)

In another devastating case, rising pro racer Jorge Alvarado was killed shortly after moving from Mexico to the San Bernardino area to join the short-lived Bahati Foundation racing team. He was killed when Roraff was allegedly street racing another car driven by Brett Morin, who is also charged. Along with the fallout from fellow team member Floyd Landis’ doping accusations, Alvarado’s death helped destroy what had been a promising new pro team headed by a local riding hero who gives back to the community he grew up in. If you have the heart to handle it, read the heartbreaking Spanish language comments from those who knew and loved Alvarado.

Pre-Preliminary Hearing is scheduled for March 1 and Preliminary hearing for March 3.  Roraff remains out of custody on bail.

Carlos Bertonatti – F-10-001742  (Miami-Dade County, Florida)

Bertonatti is the Miami pop singer charged with killing cyclist Christophe Le Canne last year in yet another drunken hit-and-run, culminating in a police chase with Le Canne’s bike still lodged under his car. Bertonatti was still on the road despite racking up over 40 moving violations in the past 12 years.

Trial Hearing scheduled for February 22.  http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2010/12/carlos_bertonatti_released_on.php

Dr. Christopher Thompson – B221794 (L.A. Downtown Appellate Court)

The Good Doctor was convicted in the vehicular assault of two cyclists in Mandeville Canyon on the 4th of July in 2009. Not surprisingly, he is appealing his conviction.

Attorney General’s responsive brief is due March 1, with no further continuances.  Thompson remains in custody at Wasco State Prison.

In addition to the cases Wheels mentioned here, charges were recently filed against Stephanie Segal in the drunken hit-and-run death of cyclist James Laing in Agoura Hills, and Patricia Ann Izquieta has pleaded guilty in the “drug addled” death of cyclist Donald Murphy in Newport Beach last year.

Charges finally filed in the death of Jorge Alvarado; revised bike plan released

Bahati rider Jorge Alvarado, from the VeloNews forum

Two months after pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado was killed by a street racing teenager, two of the three drivers involved have been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 18-year old high school seniors Brett Morin and Patrick Roraff were racing when Roraff lost control of his car and hit the cyclist.

“Individually, their driving behavior may not have resulted in the tragedy that occurred,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Vic Stull said Friday, “but combined, it was just almost vehicular Russian roulette — way beyond what anybody would see as reasonable conduct.”

The Contra Costa Times — which lists Morin’s age as 20, rather than 18 — says that Roraff was travelling in excess of 70 mph at the time of the collision.

“You can call it street racing, you can call it negligent driving – what they were doing depends on your point of view,” prosecutor Vic Stull said Friday. “We don’t have to prove they were racing to have a jury find them liable for the death. They were driving very fast, they were driving very dangerously. For us, that’s sufficient.”

A story in the Highland Community News — which describes the events in more detail than you may want — says three cars were involved after the drivers and passengers skipped school to go “hang out.” According to the paper, the events leading to Alvarado’s death began when Morin moved left to keep Roraff from passing, causing the second car to swerve right, lose control and skid across the left shoulder where Alvarado was riding.

The Community News reports that Roraff apologized to the victim’s family, and told investigators:

“I feel so stupid for even doing that, like trying to show off and trying to be – just stupid. I don’t know why I would do that. It’s just like – I wish I could go back and just change everything, but I can’t. I feel so – I just want to say sorry to the family. I can’t believe I took away a life.” Roraff had a promising soccer (sic) and was hoping to go to college on a soccer scholarship.

At the scene, he was reported saying, “There goes my life. There goes my soccer career.”

No reason was given why there were no charges against the third driver, or why prosecutors did not charge the drivers with murder, which the Contra Costa Times suggests the Sheriff’s Department had recommended. However, they note that investigators are still looking into whether others may have contributed to Alvarado’s death in some way.

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KCBS Channel 2/KCAL 9 reports on the bicyclist injured in a collision with a Sheriff’s Department vehicle in the aftermath of the Lakers’ victory Thursday night. Evidently, the rider was going east on 11th at an estimated 11 mph, with the police cruiser headed north on Flower at slow speed when the cyclist hit car and was thrown into air. (Unfortunately, coverage of the collision is merged with the other reports from Downtown; it should be the third story after you push play. Thanks to David for the link.)

The Times indicates the collision occurred at 9:18 pm as the Sheriff’s vehicle was stationary, while L.A. Rider questions whether it was the same cyclist he witnessed riding the wrong way on 9th while talking on a cell phone.

And somehow, this one missed the radar, as L.A. Creek Freak discovers a shrine to a dead father along the L.A. River Bike Path in Cudahy; no mention of whether he was walking or biking, or if it actually occurred on the bike path; there are no news reports that I can find.

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It’s almost summer, and infrastructure seems to be in full bloom.

Eco-Village reports that the rare painted bike lane has taken root on San Pedro Street adjacent to the 105 Freeway in South L.A. LADOT Bike Blog confirms the sighting, as well as confirming that we weren’t hallucinating and there really are new sharrows on Fourth Street.

And as promised, the revised bike plan was released on Friday; I’ve already downloaded my copy. Bikeside’s Alex Thompson notes that the new draft marks a 180° reversal from the much reviled previous draft.

As he wisely points out, we’re under no obligation to accept or support this or any other plan. If LADOT delivers a great new bike plan, we should back it; if not, then we can and should reject it. We should also take full advantage of the comment period make sure we end up with the best possible plan for the streets of L.A.

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In weekend riding news, unfortunately, it’s too late to join in on Streetsblog’s Friday fundraising ride through NELA; though I’m sure Damien wouldn’t mind if you still wanted to send in a few bucks.

Click to enlarge

Saturday marks the long awaited Folk Art Is Everywhere Bike Tour, offering an easy 3.5 mile art ride with several stops at shops and galleries in Echo Park and historic Filipinotown — perfect for beginning or occasional riders, or anyone who just enjoys art and good company.

Sunday, Dorothy Le of the LACBC hosts a Los Angeles Bike Tour through the bridges of L.A.

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Slovenian rider Jure Robic won this year’s Race Across America on Friday for a record 5th time, covering the course from coast to coast in nine days, 61 minutes.

Robert Gesink holds onto the leader’s jersey in the Tour of Switzerland, with Lance Armstrong in striking distance less than one minute back. Bicycling looks at the real reasons Lance’s new team was snubbed by the Vuelta.

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Gary reports that Santa Monica has set aside $25,000 for bicycle education, what form it will take is still to be determined; if you’re not familiar with Gary Rides Bikes, check it out for intelligent insights on bicycle issues. Biking cross country on the Yellowstone Trail. Dave Moulton offers his objections to Critical Mass. Yet another radio jock spews a violent anti-bike rant, while cyclists call for his firing; maybe he just wants Lance to appear on his show. Tips on how to trigger a traffic light sensor. A Tucson man removes graffiti by bike. A Baltimore columnist calls for adopting the Idaho stop and says bicyclists to wear helmets and slow down in the door zone. The first London bike share station goes up. The Guardian looks at the Black Hawk bike ban, as well as the joys of night riding — something I rediscovered myself just the other night. An Aussie cyclist plans a ghost bike for his fallen friend, only to discover one already on the site.

Finally, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry as the International Cycling Union (UCI) announces that all bikes used in this year’s Tour de France will be scanned for illegal motors.

Update: Charges coming in street-racing death of Jorge Alvarado

Bahati rider Jorge Alvarado, from the VeloNews forum

Following up on last night’s post, Dj Wheels forwards news that charges will be filed against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver accused of killing pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino.

According to a story in the Press-Enterprise, San Bernardino County Deputy D.A. Dan Detienne made the announcement at the Temecula Ride of Silence, which tuned into a de facto memorial for Alvarado. The ride was joined by Alvarado’s brother Louis, who rode in honor of Jorge.

“I just want to say thanks to everyone,” he said.

He then turned away from the group and bowed his head over the handlebars of his bike, no longer able to hold back tears.

The story reports that Roraff was driving on the wrong side of the road at over 70 mph when he lost control of his Honda Accord and plowed into Alvardo, who died at the scene.

Cyclists throughout the U.S. and Mexico will be watching closely to ensure that the charges reflect just how tragic, serious and needless this crime was.

A raft of bike-related court cases; L.A.’s revised bike plan MIA.

Dj Wheels catches us up on the current of court cases affecting the cycling community — some of which we’ve discussed before, along with a few new ones in the ever expanding list of drivers brought to justice.

Robert Sam Sanchez, charged in the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas in Malibu while allegedly intoxicated, had his Preliminary Setting continued to May 26 at 8:30 am in the Malibu Courthouse.

According to Wheels —

I didn’t see anyone that appeared to be there for the victim’s family, but there were plenty family members there in support of the Defendant. The deputy DA said again that there would either be a disposition on this day (ie. a plea deal entered) or there would be a date selected for a Preliminary Hearing (a mini trial before the judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to hear the case before a jury).

William Keith Square, arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson on April 17th, was arraigned three days later and entered a not guilty plea on all counts. A Preliminary Setting was held on May 5th, and Preliminary Hearing scheduled for June 10 at 8:30 am. Notes Wheels, “Funny how when you don’t have private counsel, the process moves a lot faster.”

Angelina Gailine Everett, accused of the hit-and-run that left an injured Ed Magos lying in the street on January 6. Dj Wheels explains —

She initially stopped, but then left the scene without rendering aid or exchanging information with the injured cyclist. The city attorney was not going to file charges at first, but after pressure from the cycling community and a promise from the newly appointed Chief Beck to request that the C.A. take a second look at it, charges were finally filed on April 6. There was an initial arraignment date of May 6, but apparently Everett did not show up. According to my sources, the city attorney might have sent the citation and notice to appear for her arraignment to an old address.  The court’s system still doesn’t have a new arraignment date entered.

Everett is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there physical injuries to one of the involved parties – CVC 20001

2) one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of a collision where there is property damage – CVC 20002(A)

Naira Margaryan, accused in the death of Gerado Ramos 13 months after he was struck while riding in a Glendale crosswalk.

On September 23, 2008, Margaryan ran over a cyclist at a crosswalk in a residential section of Glendale, after allegedly blowing through a stop sign. Detective Mankarios of the Glendale PD claims the victim cyclist was somehow also at fault in violation of the Cal Vehicle Code by riding his bike on the sidewalk. The case was filed on April 30. There was an initial arraignment date of May 13, and the defendant appeared with private counsel but did not enter her plea. Arraignment was continued to June 2 at 8:30am at the Glendale Courthouse in Dept. 1.

Margaryan is charged with:

1) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – PC 192(c)(2)

In a non-bike related case, former state legislator Walter Karabian stands accused of assaulting an unnamed parking attendant during a USC football game last fall. Wheels reports that a pretrial conference was heard on May 13, with another hearing scheduled for June 10 for compliance with discovery requests, as well as a Trial Setting Conference. A jury trial has been tentatively scheduled for July 19.

Yelena Krupen is accused of damaging the property of an unnamed victim in a hit-and-run collision while driving with a suspended license.

On December 3, 2009, Krupen struck a cyclist from behind with her Mercedes on Santa Monica Blvd at Bedford Ave. in Beverly Hills, causing damage to the bicycle. However, Krupen immediately left the scene after backing up off the rear wheel of the bike. Another motorist who witnessed the incident followed the Mercedes for a short distance, wrote down the license plate and returned to the scene with the info, which was later provided to the BHPD. After an investigation by BHPD and some complaints to the BH City Council for what was feared would become a dismissal, charges were filed on March 15, 2010.

Arraignment was held on March 26 and Krupen pleaded not guilty to both counts with the assistance of the Public Defender. A pretrial conference was held on April 23, which was continued to May 20. The defendant was not present but appeared by private counsel. She was ordered to be present at the next hearing.

Krupen is charged with:

1)one misdemeanor count of failing to stop and provide information at the scene of a collision where there is property damage only – CVC 20002(A)

2)one misdemeanor count of driving with suspended/revoked license – CVC 14601.1(A)

And still no word on charges against Patrick Roraff, the 18-year old driver who allegedly killed pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado while street racing near San Bernardino on April 8th.

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Remember the new bike plan that seemed to be such a big deal last year? Yeah, me neither. LACBC seems to recall that LADOT promised us a revised plan all the way back in February, and — justifiably — takes the city to task for failing to schedule a realistic release date three months later. And oh-so-politely points the finger at the upper echelons of the department.

Seems to me that if the people in charge at LADOT wanted to release a bike plan, it would have happened already. So here’s my polite suggestion. Either get with the program, or get hell out of the way so people who actually give a damn about cycling in this city can get something done.

Otherwise, you may find L.A.’s cycling community gathered on LADOT’s doorstep with a different finger extend.

And this one won’t be pointing.

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Richie Porte keeps the leader’s jersey in the Giro; Vinokourov starts his comeback by gaining 10 seconds on the leader, leaving him just 9 minutes and 48 seconds behind. Thursday’s Amgen Tour of California was not hijacked by Floyd Landis, despite appearances to the contrary; Michael Rogers — no relation — claims the leader’s jersey despite having the same overall time as Dave Zabriskie.

Landis-accused Lance Armstrong crashes out at the beginning of the stage, while Greg “Everyone is a Doper but Me” LeMond sides with Landis for a change; tune in tomorrow for As the ToC Turns.

Meanwhile, Blog Downtown anticipates big crowds and closures on Saturday.

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Gary gets a pleasant Bike to Work Day surprise — along with some not so nice surprises. Bike to Work Day is celebrated in Claremont and by the LACBC Downtown, while UCLA offers Bike to School Day. Metro offers free rides to cyclists with helmets, but may have forgotten to tell their drivers. And a little Tweet pressure gets Trader Joe’s to think twice about opening in Bike Week without bike parking.

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LADOT continues their advice for beginning cyclists. Pasadena tells cyclists to please stay off the sidewalk. A new OC bike shop will offer dial-up roadside service. Hemet police find cyclists at fault in 16 of 18 collisions; yeah, no hint of bias there. A cyclist in Oakland is killed when he gets doored by a driver and forced into a bus. On the heels of the worldwide popularity of the Tweed ride comes the Seersucker Ride; seriously, does anyone look good in seersucker? Dave Moulton notes that most drivers would give a stray dog more than three feet clearance, so why not a cyclist? The obvious answer is most people like dogs. A cyclist confesses to running red lights, carefully. Boulder CO police are looking for the speeding driver of a $110,000 Mercedes SUV who fled the scene after striking a cyclist in a bike lane. The Washington Post says sharing the road is a two-way street. Evidently, there’s a rash of narco-cyclists in Dallas; oddly, they lifted the photo from USC’s Daily Trojan. A Miami rider says a bus driver ran over him on purpose; the driver claims the cyclist intentionally collided with the bus. Truckers call a proposed new law that would require a four foot distance when passing a cyclist — five feet above 49 mph — “insanity.” Korea prepares a new mandatory bike registration plan to deal with the problem of abandoned bikes. Drivers going through bus and bike-only traffic lights are turning a Birmingham UK road into a ring of death.

Finally, this is pretty much the definition of a very lucky bicyclist.

Local bike cases slowly wind their way through the courts

Cyclist, attorney and court case correspondent Dj Wheels emailed today to catch us up on the current status of the all-too-many mostly bike-related cases winding their way through the local court system.

First up is the case of Patricia Izquieta, charged with the hit-and-run death of Don Murphy in Newport Beach last December.

Patricia A. Izquieta (Case #09HF2198) – Victim – Don Murphy

The Pretrial conference for April 16 was heard, but apparently the Preliminary Hearing which was scheduled for April 26 was cancelled and rescheduled. There is now a Pretrial conference scheduled for May 14 and the Preliminary Hearing for June 17.

She is charged with:

1) one felony count of hit and run with permanent and serious injury – CVC 20001(a)(b)(2)

2) a special allegation of inflicting great bodily harm, which is attached to the hit and run – Penal Code 12022.7(a)

3) one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence – Penal Code 192(c)(2)

4) one misdemeanor count of driving without a valid driver’s license – CVC 12500(a)

Next up is Marco Antonio Valencia, the hit-and-run driver who was reportedly high on alcohol, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana when he killed Joseph Novotny and injured three others.

Marco Antonio Valencia (Case # PA065011) – Victim – Joe Novotny & 3 other injured cyclists

There were pretrial conferences heard on March 23 and April 8 at the San Fernando Courthouse. Another pretrial conference was scheduled for May 18.

1) one felony count of murder with malice aforethought (2nd degree) – PC 187(a)

2) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

3) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

4) one felony count of driving with a BAC over .08 causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(b)

5) four felony counts of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

6) one felony count of driving with a suspended or revoked license due to a prior DUI – 14601.2

Robert Sam Sanchez is charged with the hit-and-run death of Rod Armas and seriously injuring his son Chris in Malibu during the L.A. Wheelmen’s Grand Tour last year.

Robert Sam Sanchez (Case # SA071910) – Victim – Rod Armas & Chris Armas injured

The Preliminary Setting conferences scheduled for March 11 and April 19 were both heard at the Malibu Courthouse. Another Preliminary Setting conference was scheduled for Friday May 7 at 1:30pm. What’s interesting is that the docket says, “VICTIMS WILL BE PRESENT TO MAKE STATEMENTS.” I called the DA’s office in Malibu to find out what this meant. Deputy McIlvain explained to me that May 7 is a Preliminary Setting Conference, and a disposition (plea bargain and sentencing) may be possible on that day. However, she is not allowed to disclose the terms of the offer for the plea at this point. If it is accepted, the case may reach a resolution that day, otherwise they’ll move forward with the Preliminary Setting conference to schedule a date for a Preliminary Hearing. I’m going to make my best effort to be there next Friday.

Charges are still the same as previously reported:

1) one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence – PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Celine Mahdavi is charged with the West Hollywood hit-and-run (notice a common theme here?) that seriously injured professional cyclist Louis “Birdman” Deliz.

Celine Mahdavi (Case #SA073459) – Victim – Louis Deliz

Preliminary Setting conferences were heard on March 22 and April 23 at the Beverly Hills Courthouse. A date of June 11 was scheduled for the Preliminary Hearing.

Charges:

1) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

2) one infraction count of a minor driving with a BAC over .01 – CVC 23136(a)

William Keith Square was arrested in the hit-and-run death of a still-unnamed cyclist in Carson earlier this month; at last report, authorities had not been able to locate the victim’s last address or next of kin.

William Keith Square (Case #TA11183201) – Victim – not named

On April 17, Square killed a cyclist in Carson with his car and left the scene. Luckily a witness wrote down his license plate # and Sheriffs arrested him at his home in Long Beach. The Inmate locater page says the arraignment is scheduled for May 5 at Compton Municipal Court. It also says that Mr. Square was arrested on April 18, assigned to permanent housing on April 24 at 4am, and then released from custody at 7:47 am. This is strange because usually it will also state the bail amount, but it doesn’t in this case. Bail for something like this should be something like $100,000, of which a bail bonds company usually asks for 10% to post bond for you.

Charges: (I haven’t seen the docket yet, but I’m assuming the charges are going to be these.)

1)one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence PC 191.5(a)

2) one felony count of driving under the influence causing bodily injury – CVC 23153(a)

3) one felony count of hit and run causing serious or permanent injury – CVC 20001(a)

Former state legislator Walter Karabian faces charges for assaulting an unnamed parking lot attendant with his car during a USC football game last fall.

Walter Karabian (Case #0EA00275) – unnamed parking lot attendant near USC campus

The Pretrial conferences for March 24 and April 23 were heard. At the last hearing, Karabian’s defense attorney, Joseph Gutierrez, was granted a motion for sanctions against Classic Parking for failure to provide subpoenaed documents. Classic Parking is to pay the defendant $500. Another Pretrial conference is scheduled for May 13 at the East L.A. courthouse.

Finally, no charges yet in the death of Bahati Foundation cyclist Jorge Alvarado, who came to this country to fulfill his lifelong dream of riding professionally, only to be killed when 18-year old Patrick Roraff allegedly lost control of his car while street racing.

Patrick Roraff (Case #?) – Victim – Jorge Alvarado

This 18 yr old man killed Jorge Alvarado of the Bahati pro cycling team on April 8 while street racing on Greenspot Road out in San Bernardino. According to the SB County Court online case info page, charges have still not been filed against Roraff.

Hopefully, the local authorities know that the cycling communities of two countries are watching this case closely; the comments in Spanish from the people who knew him are truly heartbreaking.

Special thanks to Dj Wheels for his amazing work in keeping us on top of these cases; if anyone needs a good young lawyer who knows bicycling, let me know.

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In better news, the jury in the case of the New York Critical Mass-bashing cop returned a verdict of guilty for filing a false criminal complaint, but acquitted him of misdemeanor assault.

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A former Republican candidate for Lt. Governor in Wisconsin offers a first-person account of an intentional attack by a truck driver; unclear is whether he was attacked for his politics or because he was on a bike.

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LACBC encourages you to say thanks to your yes-voting council member. USC’s Neon Tommy takes a look at Bikeside, which endorses Winograd for Congress. Stephen Box celebrates a successful campaign to get safe bike parking at the new police headquarters; on the other hand, UCLA’s bike lockers could use some work. Carless Valley Girl debates whether to ride bespectacled; always cover your eyes with something says the man who’s seen bees bounce off his lenses, among other things. You might want to stay off the road while the mayor’s girlfriend is on it.Cyclelicious talks to the producer of the upcoming Major Taylor biopic. A Long Beach intersection gets a road diet, creating more space for diners, walkers and bike racks. Ciclovia comes to San Diego starting tomorrow.

The mindset of the female bike commuter, who rides faster and looks better than the boys do. Biking in Chattanooga — no relation — directs your attention to an exceptional biking artist. The Maryland Senate passes five bike-friendly bills, including a three-foot passing law. The cross-country travelling, penta-biking Pedouins are approaching Portland. A Fort Myers FL ministry donates bikes to the homeless. A kosher Crown Heights bike loan shop turns to sales. NPR offers songs for the urban cyclist.

More doping rumors for pro cyclist Alejandro Valverde. After yet another London cyclist is killed, Mayor Boris calls for more stringent testing of drivers. What to do when you’re riding in Scotland and your wheel falls off. A new British motorists’ guide urges cyclists to claim the lane, while a leading bike group says cyclists could hold the key to the upcoming election. A bike racing Canadian novelist comes to the defense of Lycra with rants tips for cyclists. A day after Lexus announced their high-concept bike, Volkswagen unveils a folding electric prototype.

Finally, Bike Portland discovers, as many of us do sooner or later, that middle fingers do not lead to productive dialogue; I like the advice someone else gave him, “The peace sign only takes one more finger.”

I think I’ll have that tattooed on the back of my hand so I see it when I ride.

Pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado killed by street racer in San Bernardino area

Bahati rider Jorge Alvarado, from the VeloNews forum

These are the stories I hate to write.

Yesterday morning, a rising pro cyclist was killed in a collision with “car full of teenagers” in Highland, CA, northeast of San Bernardino.

Jorge Alvardo, a 27-year old native of Mexico living in Ontario, was on a training ride, riding on the shoulder of southbound Greenspot Road. A car headed north lost control, crossed over to the other side and continued up the west shoulder, apparently hitting Alvarado head on. According to the Press-Enterprise, he died in a field about a half-mile east of Santa Ana Canyon Rd.

The collision occurred at approximately 9:52 am. Drugs and alcohol don’t appear to have been a factor; however, late reports indicate the 18-year old driver was racing with two other cars when he lost control at over 70 mph. Amazingly, no arrests have been made.

Alvarado was one of  several cyclists added to the Bahati Foundation Pro Cycling Team earlier this year, including former Tour de France winner Floyd Landis, who was later stripped of his victory. The team was founded by former Major Motion and Rock Racing star Rahsaan Bahati, a Compton native and the 2008 U.S. National Pro Champion in Criterium. The team’s Facebook page is rapidly filing with condolence messages.

Condolences to his friends, family and teammates.

Thanks to the Trickster for the heads-up.

Update: The latest news from the Press-Enterprise says the collision occurred at 9:45 am. Rather than “a car full of teenagers,” there was one passenger in the car that hit Alvarado, driven by 18-year old Patrick Roraff; all three cars were driven by seniors from a local, as yet unnamed, high school.

According to VeloNews, Floyd Landis and Bahati Foundation CEO notified Alvarado’s brother of the death, as of this morning, he was still trying to notify their parents in rural Mexico.

Alvarado won the recent UCLA Road Race and finished 5th in the Redlands Classic Pro/Am Criterion, and was scheduled to compete in the Dana Point Grand Prix this weekend.

Team Director Rick Crawford summed it up in the VeloNews story.

“For the love of God, you don’t want to wait until someone is gone to let someone know how you felt about them,” said Crawford.

“If there’s anything positive about this, it’s that he was on top when his life ended,” said Crawford. “He was winning races and he was on the team and loving it.”

Read more at VeloNews.

Update: The Press-Enterprise has posted a more detailed report online.

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On the other side of the country, Boston cyclists have suffered a rash of serious collisions, with at least one fatality.

A 22-year old cyclist described by his father as  “very, very safe” rider was killed in a collision with an MTA bus. The incident evidently occurred when he struck trolley tracks embedded in the street, throwing him under the bus.

The stories absurdly note that he was not wearing a helmet; for anyone unclear on the subject, a helmet will not save anyone’s life if they get run over by a bus.

Meanwhile, as noted last night, another Boston cyclist suffered life-threatening injuries in a crash with a car in the same area.

……..

These incidents may have happened on the other side of the country or far from L.A. in San Bernardino County, but they offer a warning to cyclists everywhere.

This time of year, people seem to be focused more on enjoying the spring weather and less on driving safely. I’ve noticed it lately on my own rides, as I find myself dodging far more cars and having more close calls than usual.

So be careful out there.

Drivers may not be watching for you. So you have to be watching for them.

Thanks to Peter for more information on the Boston collisions. And note that I try not to use the word accident — virtually every collision involves unsafe road conditions, or carelessness or traffic violations on someone’s part.

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