Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

South LA man killed in possible street racing crash while riding his bike in Florence neighborhood

This morning we mentioned a breaking news report about a fatal crash between two drivers in South LA’s Florence neighborhood that may have involved two people on bicycles.

Sadly, our worst fears have bee confirmed, although several of the details were wrong.

According to multiple sources, 54-year old James Findley was killed when he was struck by a single driver around 10:35 pm at the intersection of 82nd Street and South Broadway in the Florence neighborhood of South LA.

The reports indicate Findley was riding on 82nd Street when he was run down by one of two drivers who were allegedly street racing north on Broadway.

That driver remained at the scene after crashing into several parked cars, while the other took off without stopping.

Findley was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other bike rider was involved in the crash, despite the presence of two badly mangled bicycles, as seen in this screen shot from the KNBC-4 broadcast, with one attached to a bike trailer.

Findley may have been ghost riding the other bicycle, which is where a person rides one bicycle while towing another riderless bike alongside.

It’s also possible that the second bike may only appear to be damaged, and could have been left by a bystander.

He was just a half block from the Florence home he shared with his sister, who heard the crash and immediately recognized his bike.

Findley is described as the second youngest out of nine brothers and sisters, and leaves behind an adult son.

According to KCBS-2, the driver who hit him admitted to street racing; however, that has not been confirmed by other sources. He was arrested on suspicion of gross negligence and vehicular manslaughter.

Police are searching for the missing motorist on a possible charge of hit-and-run. Drivers can be responsible for hit-and-run if they leave the scene after causing a crash, regardless of whether they were actually involved.

This is at least the seventh bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the first in the city of Los Angeles.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Findley and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Steve S and Sindy Saito for the heads-up.

Update: Man killed riding bike on deadly Los Coyotes Diagonal in East Long Beach

Just hours after a bike rider was killed in Aliso Viejo, another man lost his life in a SoCal bike crash, this time in Long Beach.

And on a street that’s already seen far too many people killed.

According to the Long Beach Post, a bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was struck by a driver after reportedly swerving unsafely across traffic lanes at Los Coyotes Diagonal and Palo Verde Avenue just before 11 am today.

A Good Samaritan performed CPR on the 62-year old Long Beach man until paramedics arrived to take him to a local hospital, where he died.

The paper reports he was riding north in the bike lane on Los Coyotes when he cut across at least four lanes of the roadway at Palo Verde Ave, and was struck by the 88-year old driver of a southbound car.

For a change, the driver remained at the scene. Whether a younger motorist would have been able to stop in time is something we may never know.

Photos from the scene show a badly mangled road bike.

The Long Beach Post’s Brian Addison reports the city has seen six people killed in traffic collisions already this year, including 64-year old Long Beach bike rider Rhodora Roldan Bachillar.

And Los Coyotes has seen more than its share of fatal bike crashes, either on or just off the deadly corridor.

This is at least the sixth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; both of those deaths have been in Long Beach.

Update: The victim has been identified as 62-year old Long Beach resident Ian Anthony Martin.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ian Anthony Martin and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Michael Muhammad for the heads-up.

Update: 64-year old woman killed in bicycling crash in the Wrigley neighborhood of Long Beach

That didn’t take long, either.

Just one day after the first Southern California bicycling death of the new year, a second rider was killed in a collision in Long Beach’s Wrigley neighborhood.

The victim, identified only as a 64-year old woman, died four hours after she was struck by a driver Thursday evening.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, the woman was riding north on Golden Avenue in Long Beach around 6 pm Thursday. She crossed the intersection at Willow Street on the green light, however, the light changed before she cleared the street.

The driver of an SUV accelerated through the intersection as the light turned green on Willow, striking the victim.

She was taken to a local hospital, where she died four hours later.

The driver remained at the scene, and was not suspected of being under the influence.

The question is why he failed to notice the victim riding her bike in the roadway directly in front of him, regardless of whether he had the green light.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the fourth bicycling death in Long Beach in the past year.

Update: The victim has been identified as 64-year old Long Beach resident Rhodora Roldan Bachillar.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Rhodora Roldan Bachillar and her loved ones.

Bicyclist killed in Wilmington big rig hit-and-run Friday morning

Finally, and sadly, we have confirmation. 

Friday morning, I received an email from Richard Rosenthal saying that he had seen what appeared to be the aftermath of a bicycling collision on Anaheim Street in Wilmington.

He was on his way to work when he saw the street blocked in both directions, a police tent pitched on the median, and a bicycle lying next to it. 

Despite reaching out to a number of sources, I was only able to confirm that someone had died there, but not what happened or whether the victim was riding a bike at the time.

Now we know. 

According to KTLA-5, a man was crossing Anaheim near Sampson Ave when his bike somehow struck the right rear side of a semi-truck headed west on Anaheim. 

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The driver reportedly continued without stopping. However, if the crash happened the way the station describes, it’s possible he or she may not have been aware of it. 

Although it’s hard to understand why a bicyclist would have ridden into the side of large truck like that, or how he ended up on the center median if he hit the right side of a westbound truck.

It seems more likely that he may have been riding across the street when the driver cut him off, knowingly or otherwise.

Police are looking for a truck with a light-colored cab and dark brown trailer. As always, there is a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles. 

This is at least the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayer for the victim and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Richard Rosenthal for the heads-up.

    

Breaking News: Bike rider killed on Florence Ave in South LA

The LAPD has just released word that a woman was killed in a collision while riding her bike in LA’s Florence neighborhood.

According to the notice below, the victim was somehow struck by the driver of a truck on Florence Ave just east of the 110 Freeway at 8:26 pm.

She became trapped under the wheels, and died at the scene.

; INC#1465; 8:26PM; 360 W Florence Av; ; ; PRELIM: One adult female bicyclist apparently struck by and found trapped beneath truck, determined dead at scene once freed by firefighters; Male vehicle driver not injured; LAPD South Traffic Incident #4811.

A street view shows three lanes and a left turn lane in each direction.

No other information is available at this time.

Crashes like this usually involve a vehicle somehow turning across the path of the rider, but we’ll have to wait for more information to understand how this could have happened.

This is at least the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 24th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

 

Update: Bike rider dies four days after he was rear-ended in Long Beach crash

People on bikes are taught to take the lane to improve their visibility and safety.

Sometimes that’s not enough.

And sometimes, all the doctors and nurses in world aren’t enough to undo the damage that can result.

According to a release from the Long Beach Police Department, 39-year old Crestline resident Bryan Lembke died Sunday, four days after he was struck by a driver.

Lembke was riding in the center of the right lane on westbound Spring Street through El Dorado Park around 4:40 am last Thursday, when he was run down from behind by a driver as he approached the San Gabriel River.

In other words, he was exactly where he was supposed to be. And was rear-ended anyway.

He suffered major injuries to his head and body, and was taken to a local hospital where he died.

The driver is identified only as a 53-year old man from Cypress. He remained at the scene, and was released pending further investigation.

No word on whether Lembke had lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness. And no word on whether police have obtained a warrant to check the driver’s phone to see if he was driving distracted.

Anyone with information is urged to call Accident Investigation Detective Sirilo Garcia at 562/570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted through LA Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800/222-TIPS (8477) or visiting lacrimestoppers.org.

This is at least the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 23rd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A comment below from the mother of Lembke’s son indicates that he did have front and rear blinking lights on his bike, as well as a solid white headlamp on his helmet. 

A crowdfunding campaign raising funds for his son’s education has raised over $15,000 of the $25,000 goal.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bryan Lembke and all his loved ones.

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up. 

 

Update: Bike rider killed in big rig crash on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles

This morning, I received two separate reports of a serious crash involving a bike rider and a tractor-trailer on Santa Monica Blvd in West Los Angeles.

David Drexler emailed to say he had driven past a crash involving a tractor-trailer at the southbound onramp to the 405 freeway on Santa Monica Blvd.

I could not get on the highway there at approx. 10 am, ramp was closed and highway patrol looked like it set up an investigation scene.  There was a very crumbled bicycle in the middle lane of the on ramp sitting at the back tires of the truck that was sitting in the lane as well.  The victim must have been removed earlier.

That was followed by this tweet from CG.

Then late this afternoon, Caltrans District 7 confirmed the death on Twitter.

As anyone who has tried to ride that section of Santa Monica Blvd knows, it is a very dangerous, poorly designed and overly crowded intersection, with a high risk of a right hook or left cross from drivers attempting to get onto the 405.

Not to mention the usual jockeying for position from too-often distracted drivers trying to snake through the congestion.

Most riders don’t try it second time, opting for the safety of Ohio Blvd a few blocks to the north; those who do usually stick to the sidewalks, which are often blocked by homeless people.

And even that requires coming off the sidewalk to ride past the onramp.

For whatever reason, this person sadly paid the price for that bad design.

This is at least the 44th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 22nd that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: A GoFundMe page has identified the victim as Frank Guzman; it’s raised over $500 of the $5,000 goal in the first few hours.

A family member describes him like this.

She added this —

Frank was 31, lived in Glendale and is survived by his parents, two siblings, his girlfriend and niece who he adored. He worked full time and was also in school trying to further his education. He was a foodie. Loved to try new things & always seeking adventure.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Frank Guzman and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to David Drexler and CG for the heads-up.

 

Update: Driver arrested on murder charge for intentionally running down a Claremont bike rider

Wrecks are seldom accidents.

But they’re usually not on purpose, either.

Yet that was the case in Claremont today, where a driver is facing a murder charge for intentionally running down a woman as she rode in a bike lane.

According to the Daily Bulletin, 54-year old Leslie Pray was riding north along the 1900 block of North Mills Avenue near Radcliffe Drive around 11:30 am today when she was deliberately struck by the driver of a 1996 station wagon.

Pray was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police arrested 61-year old Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted at a nearby hospital after a brief investigation.

There’s no word on how — or why — the crash happened, or whether the two women knew each other.

Wicksted is being held on $2 million bond. Then again, if she could pay that, she probably wouldn’t be driving a 22-year old station wagon.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Claremont Police Department at 909/399-5411.

This is at least the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

And the first one that was, allegedly, on purpose.

Update: KABC-7 reports that Wicksted was driving in the opposite direction on Mills, and swerved across the road to strike Pray’s bicycle.

The presence of skid marks on the street demonstrates her path across the road, as well as indicating she was braking as she crossed the roadway. Which is odd for a driver who was attempting to hit someone. 

However, the station also says other bike riders told police that Wicksted had swerved towards them just moments before she killed Pray.

She is also suspected of being under the influence; several empty liquor bottles were found in her car after the crash.

Tragically, Pray had just started riding a bike this summer.

Update 2: A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm today

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

Thanks to Erik Griswold and Megan Lynch for the heads-up. Photo by Erik Griswold. 

Unidentified man killed in Van Nuys hit-and-run; suspect arrested nearby

Another day, another fatal hit-and-run on the mean streets of Los Angeles.

In what’s rapidly becoming an everyday occurrence, a man was killed riding his bicycle in an early morning crash, and left to die by the heartless killer who ran him down.

According to the Los Angeles Daily News, the hit-and-run was reported around 3:45 am at Haskell Ave and Stagg Street.

When police arrived, they found the victim dead at the scene next to his crumpled fat tired bicycle, after being thrown approximately 40 feet from where he was rear-ended.

The belligerent, and apparently intoxicated, driver was arrested about a mile away at Woodley Ave and Satticoy Street near the Van Nuys Airport, with the arrest filmed as it happened by KTTV Fox11.

He insisted that he is in the army and serving our country, demanding the officers respect him while swearing at them and refusing to obey orders. However, police suspect the camo uniform he wore was nothing more than a Halloween costume.

KTTV places the time of the crash at around 3:15 am. At that hour, it’s most likely that the victim was either homeless, or riding to or from work.

No word on whether he had lights on his bike, how fast the driver was going, or what direction they were traveling.

A ghost bike will be installed at 7 pm Friday.

It’s becoming increasingly obvious that this hit-and-run epidemic will continue until our elected officials finally care enough to actually do something about it.

Or more likely, when we do.

So if you haven’t already demanded action from your state legislators, maybe it’s time to start.

This is at least the 41st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 20th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

Update: Man killed in hit-and-run while riding in Sun Valley bike lane

Now it’s confirmed.

This morning we mentioned a late night news report from KABC-7, which said a man had been killed in an apparent hit-and-run in Sun Valley on Sunday.

Now their brief story has finally been posted online.

The Los Angeles Daily News adds more details, indicating the victim was riding east in the bike lane on Strathern Street at Bellingham Avenue in Sun Valley when he was rear-ended by the driver of a dark colored SUV around 8:30 pm.

The driver reportedly stopped for a few moments before fleeing the scene.

Paramedics took the victim, publicly identified only as a 45-year old man, to Holy Cross Hospital, where he died.

Judging by photos on the Daily News story, he does not appear to have had lights on his mountain bike, though you can see wheel reflectors in some photos.

A street view shows a two lane road with bike lanes on either side on Strathern, with a 35 mph speed limit and minimal street lighting approaching the uncontrolled intersection.

Some reports place the crash scene in North Hollywood, though most call it Sun Valley.

This is at least the 37th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 19th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: The LA Daily News identified the victim as 45-year old Panorama City resident Roberto Perez.

The story also confirms that he didn’t have lights on his bike, and was riding on a dark street wearing dark clothing. Local riders gathered for Wednesday’s ghost bike installation complained about the dark conditions on the bike lane. 

Like any fatal hit-and-run in Los Angeles, there is an automatic $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the driver. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Javier Avila, of the Valley Traffic Division at 818/644-8034, or the LAPD tip line at 877/527-3247.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Roberto Perez and his loved ones. 

Thanks to Steve S for forwarding the Daily News piece, and the photo of Perez’ ghost bike.

 

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