Once again, someone has been killed riding a bicycle on PCH.
According to the Daily News, a man in his 20s was riding north on the 200 block of Pacific Coast Highway around 7 pm when he was struck from behind.
A press release from the Santa Monica Police Department places the initial call at 7:03 pm.
The victim died at the scene. He has not been publicly identified pending notification of next of kin.
No word on whether he was using lights at the time of the crash, which came nearly 45 minutes after sunset.
The driver initially fled the scene, but returned shortly later, which should be considered hit-and-run, but probably won’t be. Police are investigating why the driver failed to stop after the crash.
The person driving, who has not been identified in any way, is not currently suspected of being impaired; no word on whether distraction was involved, or why the driver failed to see someone on a bike directly in front of them.
A street view shows a six-lane highway with a center left turn lane, where drivers frequently exceed the 45 mph speed limit.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call Investigators Pace or Olson at 310/458-8954; or call the SMPD at 310/458-8491.
At least 13 people have been killed riding bicycles on PCH in Los Angeles County since 2005; eight of those have been killed on the deadly northern section of the highway running through Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu.
This collision occurred roughly across the street from where Erin Galligan was killed while riding home from work in a 2012 hit-and-run; that driver still hasn’t been caught.
This is the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd in Los Angeles County; he’s also the first bike rider to be killed in Santa Monica since Galligan’s death.
Update: The victim has been identified as 23-year old Kazumasa Nozaki.
Still no word on what may have led to the crash.
I received the following email from Carrie Wick, who was one of the first people on the scene after the crash. She reports the driver did not return of his own accord, as the police suggested, and that the police have not been forthcoming about the crash.
I am contacting you regarding a fatal hit and run incident my friend Kinya Claiborne and I witnessed on PCH Sundaynight where a 23-year-old pedestrian/ bicyclist named Kazumasa Nozaki was struck from the rear and killed by a driver who fled the scene. Perhaps you’re interested in looking into the incident.
Kinya and I were traveling southbound down PCH on October 15 around 7pm, when we noticed debris and a bike in the roadway along with a pedestrian who was laid flat in the east-northbound lane. The victim had significant head trauma and his body was bleeding and distorted. We were the first responders on the scene to provide aid to the victim, who was non-responsive and we called 911 for assistance.
There were several other witnesses including two men who were driving directly behind the driver who struck the pedestrian. They followed the driver, who fled the scene in a white BMW, for 5-10 minutes down PCH honking their horn in an attempt to get the driver to stop. As they were following the driver the witnesses called 911 to report the hit and run, providing the driver’s license plate number and location of the driver. The witnesses took pictures of the car and returned to the scene to provide their statement and evidence in person directly to the police.
There was also a couple on the scene who were driving northbound on PCH and witnessed the bicycle flying in the air when the pedestrian was struck from behind. They also provided their statement to the police on the scene.
There are a lot of inaccuracies being reported. The LAPD/SMPD statement implies the driver fled the scene and returned on his own vs. a hit and run, where the driver immediately fled the scene of a fatal collision. An officer on the scene announced, “We got him”, from the men tracking down the driver and the reporting of the license plate and location to the police.
Also, LAPD/SMPD have not acknowledged any of the witnesses or their statements, including the men who witness the hit and run, tracked down the driver, reported it via 911 and provided a statement to the police on the scene. Authorities are acting like the witnesses and hit and run incident never existed as evident in the press release issued by SMPD on October 16.
It seems as though the LAPD and SMPD have taken a lax approach with completing a thorough investigation and have clearly omitted key facts and witness reports from the fatal hit and run incident. This man does not have a voice any longer and can’t fight for himself, so we will try to on his behalf.
She also reports that the bike was so badly mangled from the impact that it was impossible to tell if he was using lights and reflectors.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kazumasa Nozaki and his loved ones.