Tag Archive for Lake Elsinore

Update: Bike rider killed in hit-from-behind collision; 5th cyclist killed in Lake Elsinore in past three years

We ended last week with a fallen cyclist.

And tragically, we start the week with another.

Just two days after James “Mitch” Waller was killed and another rider seriously injured when they were run down from behind while riding in Laguna Canyon Road near Laguna Beach, word comes of yet another Southern California bicycling fatality.

And like the others, she died after her bike was struck from behind.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 38-year old Lake Elsinore resident Lucia Ruano was riding south on Grand Avenue at Marvella Lane in Lake Elsinore when she was hit by a silver Ford F150 pickup at 8:37 am. She was pronounced dead just 35 minutes later at the Inland Valley Medical Center.

A street view indicates what looks like a rough shoulder there.

As too often happens with fatal collisions in the Inland area, there’s just too little information in the story to give a clear idea what happened. However, a comment on the Lake Elsinore – Wildomar Patch site offered a second-hand report that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, trapping the bike underneath.

And yes, the witness says the victim was wearing a helmet; from the sound of it, it probably didn’t matter.

Depending on exactly where the collision occurred, the driver may have drifted off the roadway, or Ruano may have entered the traffic lane to avoid an obstacle on the shoulder. Or the driver may have hit her while turning onto Marvella.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Riverside County; that compares to 29 and five, respectively, this time last year. Remarkably, it’s also the fifth cycling fatality in tiny Lake Elsinore, population 53,000, since 2010, and the second on Grand Avenue.

And if that doesn’t indicate a serious problem, I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, bicycling fatalities are nearly 45% ahead of last year in the seven-county SoCal area just halfway into the year. And this comes as we head into the 4th of July weekend, which is traditionally one of the most dangerous times of year for area bike riders; last year seven cyclists were killed within a week of Independence Day.

One death is one too many; 42 in just six months is an obscenity.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Lucia Ruano and her family. 

Thanks to Zak and Walter Lars for the heads-up.

Update: Call this one a homicide. 

According to the Press-Enterprise, CHP officers arrested the driver, 40-year old Lake Elsinore resident Jay Dustin Sorrell, an hour after the collision for investigation of drunken driving and gross vehicular manslaughter.

According to authorities, Sorrell allowed his truck to drift onto the right shoulder, where he hit Ruano’s bike at around 40 mph, killing her. 

Yes, he was too drunk to drive at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. 

And now an innocent woman is dead because of it.

Update: Another month, another cycling fatality — bike rider killed in Lake Elsinore area

That didn’t take long.

After an exceptionally deadly month of July, in which 13 SoCal cyclists lost their lives, yet another rider was killed on the very first day of August.

According to the Southwest Riverside News Network, the victim was hit by a pickup at approximately 4:50 pm on Grand Avenue near the intersection with Blackwell Blvd in Lakeland Village.

The Lake-Elsinore-Wildomar Patch reports that witnesses saw the rider enter traffic quickly, leaving no time for the driver to respond before the collision.

A satellite view shows an uncontrolled intersection on Grand, with stops signs on Blackwell. However, there’s no indication whether either party may have entered from the side street, or who may have had the right-of-way.

A man who lived nearby heard the impact, but didn’t hear the sound of brakes prior to the collision. He ran out and called 911, then knelt down and put his hand on the victim’s chest, reportedly feeling a heartbeat but no breathing. Paramedics declared the man dead at the scene.

Patch reports the cause of the crash is under investigation; the victim has not been publicly identified.

A photo on the Patch site shows a badly mangled road bike with panniers and what appears to be a cooler on the back rack, suggesting he may have been riding home from work at the time of the collision.

This collision also occurred at the same intersection as another fatal bike collision in 2010.

This is the 43rd traffic-related bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 46-year old Harry Dettloff of Lake Elsinore. The NC Times says he was hit while crossing Grand Avenue just north of Baldwin, and puts the time of death as 5:08 pm.

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, Dettloff was riding with traffic on the west shoulder of Grand Avenue when a Nissan Frontier truck driven by 60-year old Patrick Wattson of Wildomar struck him from behind at around 40 mph.

A CHP spokesman said the truck drifted off the road because Wattson was “momentarily inattentive.” The officer also notes that Dettloff wasn’t wearing a helmet, though it’s not clear how much benefit a helmet would have provided in a collision at that speed.

Now a man is dead because a driver couldn’t manage to pay attention while operating a two-ton truck.

But hey, it was just an accident, right?

Breaking News: Lake Elsinore cyclist killed Friday afternoon; 3rd SoCal bike death in three days

According to a report from the North County Times, a 19-year old Wildomar man was struck and killed while riding his BMX bike early Friday afternoon.

The rider, who has not yet been publicly identified, was leaving his work just before 1 pm when he attempted to cross the road at 31784 Casino Drive, and reportedly rode into the path of an oncoming van. Responding officers found him lying on the side of the road with multiple injuries; he was transported to Valley Medical Center, where he was declared dead.

Police report the driver tried to avoid the collision and remained at the scene to cooperate with the investigation, and was released without charges.

This is the third fatal Southern California bike traffic collision in the last three days, and the second in Riverside County. It’s also the 46th confirmed traffic-related cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 9th in Riverside County.

Update: The rider has been identified as 19-year old Cody Wessel of Wildomar. Anyone with information about the crash is urged to call the Lake Elsinore Police at 951/245-3300.

Update 2: Cody Wessel is remembered as a recent grad of Elsinore High School and a member of Future Farmers of America; Wessel worked at Casino Hand Car Wash and planned to attend Mt. San Jacinto Community College. 

Cyclist killed in Lake Elsinore area — 2nd SoCal bike fatality this weekend, 6th in two weeks

Enough already.

For the 2nd time in two days, a cyclist was killed on the streets of Southern California. Worse yet, it was the 2nd death in the same area in just the last 10 days.

According to the Southwest Riverside News Network, Mark Westwood, a 52-year old Wildomar resident, collided with a full-size sedan on Grand Avenue 15 feet south of Blackwell Blvd in Lake Elsinore about 7:50 pm Saturday; he was pronounced dead at Inland Valley Medical Center less than five hours later.

Police suspect the driver may have been drunk at the time of the collision; no other information is available as of 9 pm Sunday.

Westwood’s death comes less than two weeks after Lake Elsinore resident Peter Anthony Zupan was killed in Wildomar, just miles from the scene of Saturday’s wreck.

It was also just 18 hours after a 17-year old bicyclist was killed while riding on Laurel Canyon Blvd in Pacoima; the victim still has not been publicly identified. Dj Wheels reports that the driver, 26-year old Shawn Fields, was released on $100,000 bail after being arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol; his next court appearance is scheduled for 8:30 am on October 27 in Department S of the San Fernando Courthouse.

And it marks the 6th cycling death in Southern California in the last two weeks, including the deaths of Susan Eiko Akana in Carlsbad, Eldon Johansen in Redondo Beach and an unidentified rider in Agoura Hills.

My condolences to the family, friends and love ones of all the riders.

God I hate weeks like this.

%d bloggers like this: