Tag Archive for Los Angeles County

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.

 

Update: Bike rider killed on Winnetka Blvd in the San Fernando Valley

Word is just breaking that a man in his 60’s was killed yesterday while riding his bike in the Winnetka neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley.

The victim was reportedly riding his bike in the crosswalk on westbound Lanark Street crossing Winnetka Ave when he was struck by the driver of a 2001 Toyota Corolla around 6:30 pm.

He was taken to Northridge Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A street view shows a wide four lane roadway on Winnetka, with a center left turn lane and a bike lane in both directions, and an uncontrolled crosswalk on the west side.

No other details are available at this time.

This is at least the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 18th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

A ghost bike ceremony is tentatively scheduled for 9 pm tomorrow night. (Note: This originally said it would be held on Tuesday, but it will be Wednesday, instead.)

Update: According to a source with the LAPD, the victim is an unidentified, 72-year old ebike rider.

He was struck when he rode off the north sidewalk on Lanark into the crosswalk, and was struck by a driver headed north on Winnetka. 

This is yet another reminder of the dangers of sidewalk riding. Drivers often aren’t looking for you there, so you have to assume they don’t see you. Even if you have the right-of-way, it’s often safer to wait until cross traffic has passed. 

And always carry some form of ID. This crash is even more tragic knowing that the victim’s loved ones may have no idea he was killed.

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

Thanks to Zachary Rynew and Steve for the heads-up. Photo of the victim’s ghost bike from Steve.

 

Update: Bike rider killed in early morning Torrance hit-and-run

Yet another person riding a bike has been murdered by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

According to KTLA-5, police responded to a report of a crash involving a bicyclist in Torrance around 5 am today.

KCBS-2/KCAL-9 reports the victim wasn’t breathing when officers found him lying in the street at Hawthorne Boulevard and 227th Street. They attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

He has been identified only as an adult male.

Police are looking for a tan or light gold 2006 to 2009 Toyota 4-Runner with front-end damage and part of the bumper missing. A security camera may have captured video of the crash and could show the suspect vehicle.

No other information is available at this time.

A street view shows a two lane residential street controlled with a stop sign on 227th, while Hawthorne has four wide lanes in each direction with no traffic signals for several blocks, allowing drivers to go as fast as traffic will allow.

Which means he or she could have probably traveled as fast as he or she wanted at that hour.

Just to be clear, there is simply no excuse, ever, for hit-and-run.

Drivers who leave their victims to die in the street should face a charge of felony murder, because they made a conscious decision to let a human being die rather than make a simple call for help.

Maybe then this hit-and-run epidemic would finally stop.

This is at least the 34rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

Update: KNBC-4 reports the victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, was a man in his 40s. 

They also say the speed limit on that stretch of Hawthorne is 45 mph. Chances are the driver was going faster. 

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 32-year old Jonathan Valbuena, who is described as being homeless. Which does not change tragedy or outrage in the slightest. 

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

Thanks to Brian McCarthy and Serena Grace for the heads-up.

 

Woman killed in Lancaster bike crash earlier this month

Somehow, we missed this news earlier this month.

Looking for information about yesterday’s fatal collision in Lancaster uncovered news of a woman who was killed while riding her bike in the same city on Monday, August 13th.

According to the Antelope Valley Times, the victim, identified only as a Hispanic woman in her 50s, was riding north in the bike lanes on Sierra Highway below Oldfield Street when she was struck and killed.

The paper reports that she attempted to cross the five lane Sierra Highway, unexpectedly swerving left in front of an oncoming driver traveling in the same direction.

She was taken to a local hospital, where she died of her injuries.

A statement from the sheriff’s department said it doesn’t appear that drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash, nor was excessive speed.

As always, the question is whether there were independent witnesses to the crash. Drivers who drift to the right or fail to see a bike rider often assume the victim must have swerved in front of them, when that’s not always the case.

Anyone with information is urged to call traffic investigators at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station at 661/ 948-8466.

This is at least the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

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