Tag Archive for murder

Morning Links: Whittier hit-and-run fugitive captured in Australia, bad guys on bikes, and no justice for killer cops

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In a surprising development, Australian police have arrested a woman for the hit-and-run death of a bike rider in Whittier last year.

The FBI lost the trail of 33-year old fugitive Andrea Dorothy Chan Reyes after tracking her to Asia when she fled the country, just five days after killing Agustin Rodriguez Jr.

The father of four died when a driver stopped to let him cross the street on his bike, then was struck by Reyes after she swerved around the stopped car. She dragged Rodriguez and his bicycle the length of two football fields.

Reyes was found living in Adelaide and using 11 different aliases.

She now faces extradition to Los Angeles on charges of vehicular homicide and felony hit-and-run. Reyes could spend up to 15 years behind bars if convicted on both counts.

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Bike riders aren’t always the good guys.

LA County is offering a  $10,000 reward in the racially motivated shooting death of Long Beach resident Fred Taft, hours after he was harassed by a group of white men on bicycles. Long Beach is offering another $20,000.

In the same story, the Long Beach Post reports the county is considering renewing a $25,000 reward in the hit-and-run death of bike rider Cole Micek last March; Micek was run over by two separate drivers, who both fled the scene.

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Once again, LA’s DA refuses to prosecute a cop, declining to file charges against a sheriff’s deputy responsible for a crash that killed two small children.

The DA’s office also refused to file charges against the distracted sheriff’s deputy who killed Milt Olin, along with the trigger-happy Gardena cops who fatally shot the brother of a bike theft victim.

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No irony here.

Thanks to a crappy locking job, this Stolen Brand bike wasn’t. Just mangled and stripped to the bones.

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Local

Alhambra’s city council was scheduled to vote last night on whether to return to the recent auto-centric past by banning bikeshare and e-scooters from the city. Thanks to M for the heads-up; no, not James Bond’s boss in MI6. Probably.

A governing website talks with the policy director of Santa Monica-based Bird about the boom in e-scooters, and what cities should be doing about it.

Speaking of scooters, Long Beach wants your input on the city’s e-scooter program.

 

State

California’s former Governator is one one of us, proclaiming his desire to bicycle all over the world.

Monterey’s hugely popular Sea Otter Classic is exporting itself to sea otter-free Ontario, Canada.

San Francisco is on its way to becoming the first major US city to toss minimum parking restrictions out the window.

A Marin County bicycling organization is pushing for more bike access to Point Reyes National Seashore; as always, a group of equestrians wants to keep them out.

 

National

A Portland-area paper kvetches about streetcar tracks in the bike lane. Which is both dangerous and stupid; the streetcar tracks, not the kvetching. 

A popular Texas bike shop is trying to raise enough funds to stay in business after it was scammed out of $3,000 worth of bikes and accessories.

A longtime Denver talk show host with his head firmly planted up his…uh, in the auto-centric past complains about what he calls the “folly of bike lanes, insisting that no one uses them and they just get in the way of all those poor, put-upon drivers.

The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes goes on…and on. Bike riders in Boulder CO report finding tacks in their tires after riding on a popular bike route.

Chicago bicyclists faced treacherous conditions after the city failed to clear protected bike lanes after a snowstorm.

Gray-haired New Yorkers are furious over a plan to allow bicyclists to ride through a park they frequent to access a new esplanade on the East River.

New York’s city council is preparing to go to the mattresses over a proposal to legalize ebikes and e-scooters. Although someone should tell them it’s all those cars that make the city’s streets dangerous, not the people on two wheels.

America’s other ex-Tour de France champ is challenging the validity of Trump’s acting attorney general, using his nearly settled lawsuit against Lance as leverage.

Sad news from Florida, where a second bike rider has died after an apparently distracted driver slammed into a group of riders when she was blinded by the sun.

 

International

Now that’s more like it. Halifax, Nova Scotia is paying nearly a quarter million dollars to install side guards on a fleet of privately owned garbage trucks to prevent bike riders and pedestrians from getting trapped underneath.

London’s Scotland Yard releases video showing its officers dealing with lawbreaking moped and motorcycle riders by ramming them with their patrol cars. Which would be assault with a deadly weapon if anyone else tried it.

Three British bicyclists attempted to ride 5,000 miles across Europe to raise money for a charity; only one finished the journey after one rider was hit by a driver, and the other injured a knee.

An Irish bike rider saw his case against the driver who hit him thrown out of court after the judge concludes the pedestrian path he was riding on wasn’t a bikeway, even though it was frequently used as one.

Wine Enthusiast considers the L’Eroica vintage bicycle tours through the sun-drenched wine country of Tuscany.

Ten Indian men set out to ride around the world in the 1920s and 1930s; seven made it.

Cycling legend Gary Fischer talks mountain bikes with an Indian newspaper.

A South African cyclist is riding over 1,200 miles to raise funds to save the rhinos.

Caught on video: A Kiwi bicyclist records six dangerous passes and left hooks — the equivalent of our right hook — in a single ride. Or as we call that in Los Angeles, any day that ends in Y.

Tickets for bicycling offenses have dropped dramatically in New Zealand, as police have shifted enforcement towards motorist behaviors that pose a greater risk to others.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips says the elite women’s cyclists are saving cyclocross, even as the men’s races are becoming boring.

A Rwandan woman dreams of forming a cycling team, 34 years after she competed in a bike race as the only woman in a field of men; it was five years before she would face other female competitors.

 

Finally…

Look at your phone when you step into the street, and pay $200. A Sketchers ad is officially non-offensive, even if a bike rider crashes while staring at Kelly Brooks in a tight sweater.

And nothing says ’tis the season like Santas on bikes.

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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. 

Driver uses car as weapon to murder San Bernardino bike rider in intentional hit-and-run

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in a San Bernardino crash.

But this time, it was not an accident — in any sense of the word.

According to a press release from the San Bernardino Police Department, 52-year old San Bernardino resident Elroy Preston was riding on the 1400 block of E. Date Street around 6:27 pm Sunday when he was struck by a driver, who fled the scene.

Preston was taken to a local hospital, where he died later that night.

Witnesses reported he was struck by a black Dodge Magnum driven by 34-year old Dominic Deshaun Simmons of Fontana; the two men had been at the same home just before the crash.

Police spotted a vehicle matching the description at a gas station in Rialto, and arrested Simmons on suspicion of murder. He is currently being held without bail.

Simmons has an extensive criminal record, as well as several outstanding warrants for failing to appear for hearings on various charges.

Preston also had a record, though no details are available; no word on what the relationship was between the two men, if any.

Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Oldendorf at 909/384-5619 or Sgt. Kokesh at 909/384-5613.

This is the 59th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 13th in San Bernardino County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Elroy Preston and all his loved ones.

Update: Echo Park bicycling fatality confirmed; 22-year old DUI driver book for murder

This is not the news we wanted.

After reaching out to the LAPD, Detective Felix Padilla confirmed that a 27-year old man was killed while riding his bike on Temple Street at Burlington Avenue Saturday evening.

According to the press release prepared by Det. Padilla, a sergeant with the Rampart Division observed a driver traveling at an estimated 60 mph while headed north on Burlington Avenue at around 6:15 pm.

However, before the officer could catch up to him, he heard the driver, identified as 22-year old LA resident Cruz Tzoc, lose control and smash into a parked car before proceeding into the intersection, where he slammed into a man riding his bicycle east on Temple.

The victim, who has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Tzoc was found to be over twice the legal alcohol limit, and was booked at the Metropolitan Detention Center on a charge of murder.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the LAPD Central Traffic Division Detectives at 213/833-3713, Detective Felix Padilla at 213/833-3713 or the Central Traffic Division Watch Commander at 213/833-3746. Tips can be made anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222/8477, or texting to 274637, beginning the message with “LAPD.”

This is the 34th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Los Angeles County; it’s also the second in the City of Los Angeles since the start of the year.

Update: The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has identified the victim as 26-year old Tomas Brewer, no city of residence given.

His death was collateral damage when Tzoc collided with the parked car and went through the intersection backwards, dragging Brewer 25 feet to his death  before striking a tree.

Tzoc has been charged with a single felony count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, and was expected to be arraigned on April 26 in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, case #BA446088; prosecutors are asking for $130,000 bail.

He faces up to 10 well-deserved years in prison upon conviction.

Let’s hope the DA’s office doesn’t bargain this one away.

Update 2: This is the damage traffic crimes do, as the pain of Brewer’s death reverberates in his hometown of Gloucester, MA. The budding screenwriter had moved to LA in 2013 after graduating college to get into the business.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tomas Brewer and his loved ones.

Update: Arrest made in Expo Park road rage attack; driver charged with murder, hit-and-run

Evidently, it was a secret.

In a surprise announcement, My News LA reports a suspect in last month’s fatal road rage assault near Exposition Park is under arrest — and has been since four days after the October 15th incident.

Thirty-two-year old Andrew Williams was scheduled to be arraigned today on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run in the death of 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified.

That confirms an earlier witness report that Williams had been arguing with Vanegas, and had threatened to run him over before doing exactly that.

Williams has apparently been in jail the past 16 days in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces 25 to life upon conviction, according to the site.

Update: Williams arraignment has been delayed until November 20th.

Morning Links: Palmdale man killed defending his bike; LA cyclist rides to hospital after being stabbed by driver

This is why you don’t try to save your bike from robbers.

The Daily News reports that a bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, was shot and killed outside a Palmdale restaurant Tuesday night. KNBC-4 identifies the location as in front of Sky Burgers.

The 41-year old victim reportedly tried to stop four men from stealing his bike outside the restaurant on the 1800 block of E. Palmdale Blvd around 9:40 pm. He was assaulted by all four, described by witnesses as gang bangers, before one pulled out a gun and shot him multiple times.

Seriously, if you see someone trying to steal your bike, don’t attempt to stop them. Let them take it, and call the police; it’s their job to deal with it.

No matter how much your bike cost, your life is worth more.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones. Let’s hope the police catch these assholes.

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Seriously, WTF is wrong with some people?

LAist reports that a man was stabbed in the neck after he asked an SUV driver to turn off his lights — evidently because it was disturbing his meal in the parking lot of a Mid-City Carl’s Jr.

The driver is seen on security video getting out of his vehicle and approaching the man, who tried to back off before attempting to defend himself. The driver then pulled out a knife and stabbed him, after which he calmly got back in his car and drove off with a woman passenger, who evidently did nothing to stop the assault despite briefly getting out of the car.

The victim got on his bike and rode to a nearby hospital for treatment; the website says he was okay, despite his wounds.

Police are looking for a suspect. Then again, if the driver had just used his car instead of a knife, he probably could have driven home without a ticket.

If anyone ever tries to tell you bike riders aren’t tough, show them this.

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Once again, Long Beach is giving you a brief window to experience your own mini-ciclovia, as the city opens up the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach race course to cyclists, skaters, runners and walkers from 11:30 am to 1 pm next Tuesday.

It would have been nice if they’d mentioned the date on their website, though.

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Proposed legislation would require any car sold or leased in California to have a temporary license plate before it’s driven off the lot — just like many, if not most other states require — which would allow it to be identified in the case of hit and run or other crimes.

You can sign a petition to support the bill here; as it says, there is no reasonable reason for opposition.

Thanks to Ann Frederick for the heads-up.

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Local

Good news for sidewalk riders, or anyone who walks anywhere, as LA agrees to spend $1.3 billion over the next 30 years to fix the city’s broken sidewalks.

KPCC’s Larry Mantle talks with lame duck councilmember Tom LaBonge and Rec & Parks Superintendent Joe Salaices about the test project to allow cars on Griffith Park’s Mt. Hollywood Drive. Mantle also talks LA traffic with the Source’s Steve Hyman and new LACBC ED Tamika Butler.

UCLA Transportation says bike lanes are needed on Westwood Blvd to encourage students and faculty to bike to campus; the school’s many bicycling improvements that have helped make it a Bike Friendly University aren’t worth much if people can’t get there safely.

DTLA’s Chinatown installs an unusual, but apparently effective, bike corral.

Torrance cyclists will get new bike lanes on Palos Verdes Blvd following the street’s $2.1 million makeover.

CICLE is hosting an adult learn to bike class on April 12th.

 

State

The allegedly stoned wrong-way driver who plowed down a group of cyclists on San Diego’s Fiesta Island will face a competency hearing on Wednesday.

Santa Maria police are bringing back their old bikes to support a new crop of bike cops.

A Visalia motorized bike rider is in critical condition after being hit from behind by an SUV.

Riding the other route to SoCal from the Bay Area.

A San Francisco website maps out where cyclists are most likely to be hit by a distracted driver.

Marin County supervisors tell bike path riders to slow down, you move too fast; whether they sang it in two-part harmony is unclear.

 

National

Memphis decides to rip out a two-way separated bike path that took over one side of a four lane street, but promises some sort of complete street will return following a future repaving.

WaPo shows the ineffectiveness of most bike networks by mapping out what they look like without streets for a handful of major cities; I shudder to think what LA’s would look like.

 

International

VeloNews discusses the bike path to parity in women’s cycling.

A Brit jerk posts video of a car passenger pushing a cyclist off his bike that the jerks at Facebook declined to take it down, at least initially.

London in funneling money into bicycling infrastructure, while other UK cities lag behind for a lack of funding.

Three Ghana girls create a successful bamboo bike business.

Unbelievable. An Aussie driver is fined a whopping $1,000 for running down a cyclist from behind — even though the victim was tricked out with a hi-viz vest, plus two flags and several lights.

Calling the case an absurdity, a Kiwi judge refuses to disqualify a French tourist from driving for recklessly running down a pedestrian while riding his bike on the sidewalk.

 

Finally…

Even Bay Area fifth graders know most cyclists stop for stop signs, though many motorists might argue otherwise. Bike Radar lists products they wish were April Fool’s pranks.

And Streetsblog’s Joe Linton offers a pointed April Fools discussion of the bike projects LADOT will ignore this year.

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No, really, the late post isn’t my fault this time. I had it ready to upload, but lost my internet connection when the electrician turned off the power to fix a balky outlet. Honest.

 

Update on tragedy: North Hollywood hit-and-run victim dies

According to the LAPD, the cyclist injured early this month in a North Hollywood hit-and-run has died.

And the driver who left his broken body laying in the street as he fled the scene is now wanted for murder.

In an assault that reportedly left an experienced police detective outraged, Robert Painter was struck by a dark green or black Jeep Grand Cherokee at approximately 5:10 pm on December 2nd, while riding his bike in the crosswalk where Archwood Street crossed Laurel Canyon Boulevard. According to the LAPD, the impact “launched Painter off his bike into the air,” resulting in severe injuries; the suspect immediately fled without rendering aid.

Paramedics transported painter, a Canadian citizen living in North Hollywood, to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries this past Saturday, December 12 — 10 days after he was struck.

From the LAPD blog:

The driver of the car is described as a male Hispanic 30 to 35 years old with dark hair and dark clothes.  There was also a female passenger who was described as possibly wearing a red coat.  The suspect’s car is said to have collision damage on the front end of the driver’s side.  The suspect’s car was last seen entering an Arco gas station at the intersection of Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Van Owen Street a block north of where the collision occurred.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Valley Traffic Division Detectives Doug Larkin at (818) 644-8036 or Detective William Bustos at 818-644-8020.  During off-hours, calls may be directed to a 24-hour, toll-free number at1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247).  Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log on to www.lapdonline.org and click on Web tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.”  Tipsters may remain anonymous.

The cycling community has tens of thousands more eyes on the street than the police, so keep an eye open when you ride. If you see a vehicle that matches the description, don’t try to stop it; call the police and let them do their job.

And let’s put this son-of-a-bitch behind bars where he belongs.

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