Tag Archive for Orange County

Breaking News — Another bike rider killed in Huntington Beach

For the second time in just 10 days — and the third time this year — a bike rider has been killed in Huntington Beach.

According to a press release from the Huntington Beach Police Department, 44-year old Costa Mesa resident Kathy Sieberhein died after being hit by an 80-year old driver during rush hour last night.

Sieberhein was riding west on Adams Ave near Ranger Lane around 6:15 pm when she was rear-ended by a Chevy truck driven by 80-year old Brian Chattaway of Fountain Valley. She was transported to Western Medical Center with major, undisclosed injuries, where she died sometime later.

Other reports indicate the collision occurred at 8:15 pm; however, HBPD corrected that time to reflect the earlier hour.

The driver remained at the scene where he was interviewed the police; the investigation is still ongoing and no citation has been issued or arrest made at this time.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714- 536-5666.

Judging from the satellite photo, there appears to be a westbound bike lane on Adams that ends at Ranger; the need to merge into the right hand lane may have been a contributing factor.

In addition, the sun would have been low in the sky at that hour, which could have affected the west-facing driver’s vision. However, that should not be seen as an excuse; if drivers can’t see what’s in the road ahead of them, for whatever reason, they should pull over and wait until they can. No one should ever drive for any amount of time when they are blinded by the sun or anything else.

Age may have also been a factor, as older drivers can suffer from reduced vision and reaction times, and often continue to drive long after they have lost the ability to do so safely.

And it’s always possible the victim may have cut over in front of the truck without looking or giving the driver time to respond.

All or none of these may have played a role in this case, as the exact cause is still to be determined.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh already this year in Orange County, compared to just one this time last year.

And it is the third bike-related fatality in Huntington Beach this year, following the deaths of Genevieve Hall earlier this month and Matthew Liechty this past February.

For a city of less that 200,000, that should be a clear indication something is very seriously wrong.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Kathy Sieberhein and all her loved ones.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update — bike rider killed in Huntington Beach hit-and-run

Another Orange County bicyclist has been killed by a heartless hit-and-run driver.

KABC-7 reports that a 34-year old woman, whose has not been released, was struck by a white van around 8:25 last night near the intersection of Beach Boulevard and Utica Ave.

The driver fled the scene without stopping. Meanwhile, the victim was taken to UCI Medical Center, where she died.

The Orange County Register reports she was in a crosswalk on Utica when she was struck; a satellite photo shows four well-marked crosswalks at the intersection. They also report that the van was last seen fleeing north on Beach Blvd.

No further details are available at this time. Anyone with information is urged to call police Huntington Beach police accident investigators Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Robert Barr at 714-536-5666

Read more: http://ktla.com/2014/04/07/driver-sought-after-cyclist-killed-in-huntington-beach-hit-and-run/#ixzz2yFUMPpW8

This is the 29th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County since the first of the year, three of which have been hit-and-runs.

She is also the second bike rider killed in a Huntington Beach hit-and-run in the last two months, and the fifth rider to die in a hit-and run in the city since 2010.

Looks like there’s a serious problem there.

Update: Still no ID on the victim; however, KTLA-5 reports that she was a resident of Huntington Beach.

The Register has removed the paywall from their article, which says the driver appears to have been headed north on Beach, while the victim was riding east on Utica. Police are now looking for a white sedan with probable front-end damage; earlier reports suggested the vehicle was a white van.

Update 2: The victim has been identified as 34-year old Genevieve Ann Hall of Huntington Beach. Meanwhile, the suspect vehicle has been identified as a 2006 to 2013 Chevy Impala with damage to the front bumper. Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update 3: Friends and family members struggle to deal with Hall’s death. And a fundraiser will be held at Mama’s On 39 in Huntington Beach on Wednesday night to help pay her funeral expenses.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Genevieve Ann Hall and her loved ones.

15-year old bike rider killed in Fountain Valley, just days before his birthday

Ghost bike for Sean Severson; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike for Sean Severson; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Every death on our streets is needless tragedy. Every fallen rider a heartbreaking loss.

But some tug a little harder at the heartstrings.

Like when a young boy with a lifetime of possibilities is taken from us before he can even grow up or become who he was destined to be.

On Thursday, 15-year old Sean Severson was hit and killed while riding his bike in Fountain Valley at 7:47 am, most likely while on his way to school.

According to a press release from the Fountain Valley Police Department, Severson was riding along the west curb line of Bushard Street north of Rose Avenue when he rode out into the traffic lane and was hit by a Volvo Sedan.

The report doesn’t say why he went out into the traffic lane, or wether he was riding with or against traffic, rear-ended or hit head on.

He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition; according to the Orange County Coroner’s office, he died at 11:50 am this morning, just four days short of his 16th birthday.

The driver remained at the scene, and there was no suspicion of drug or alcohol use. Anyone with information is urged to call the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714-593-4484.

This is the 26th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County.

I’m told a ghost bike will be installed for Sean on Saturday morning.

This one will devastate a lot of people, including his schoolmates, as well as those of us who never knew him.

And now never will.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sean Severson and all his family and loved ones. 

Update: I’m told by Danny Gamboa that there are no brake marks on the street anywhere near where the collision occurred, indicating that the driver made no attempt to stop. Which suggests that Severson either made a last-second swerve to the left that the driver was unable to avoid, or that the driver never saw him.

Unfortunately, Sean isn’t around to tell his version of events.

Update: Corona mountain biker found dead after being lost overnight

This is why you don’t ride off road in threatening weather.

Word broke last night that a bike rider was lost in the Cleveland National Forest above Corona; today rescuers found 34-year old Corona resident Andres Marin’s body North Main Divide Road in Orange County.

Weather Saturday’s severe storms played a role in his death was unclear, however, they delayed rescue attempts by 12 hours until conditions improved.

According to the Press-Enterprise, Marin had gone out for an 18-mile ride on the Skyline Trail above Corona, intending to return home Saturday afternoon — tragically, to celebrate his birthday.

Unfortunately, he failed to return.

The paper reports that his wife posted on Facebook that he called around 5:15 pm, saying he was injured and didn’t know where he was. She said his words sounded slurred and he seemed disoriented.

The Temecula Grapevine website says he was going to try to make it out of the mountains before dark. When he did not return, a search was initiated at 5:45 pm.

Using trail maps and cellular towers, rescuers were able to identify his probable location as the southwest side of the Skyline Trail, according to the Riverside County Sheriffs Department. Unfortunately, that could not be confirmed, and attempts to contact Marin were unsuccessful.

Bad weather kept rescuers from accessing the trail and prevented the use of helicopters. However, by 6 am Sunday, weather conditions had improved enough to allow a search to begin.

Unfortunately, Marin’s body was found around 10 am on an Orange County Section of North Main Divide Road; no cause of death was reported pending further investigation.

According to his Facebook page, Marin died just 17 days before his 14th anniversary; he leaves behind four children.

This is the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 4th in Orange County already this year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Andres Marin and all his family. 

Update: As Anthony Ryan pointed out, it is also unwise to hike or bike in the backcountry alone. A riding partner can often help you get out safely or go for help if something goes wrong.

Update 2: The Press-Enterprise has updated their story to say Marin had left at 7 am Saturday on an 88-mile ride, which his wife said he had done before, rather than the 18-miler initially reported. 

In addition, she reports authorities were initially confident Marin would survive the night, despite his thin riding clothes and lack of food. Hypothermia is the suspected cause of death, likely due to being caught in the heavy rain overnight.

Update 3: The Press-Enterprise quotes Marin’s wife, Christyna Arista, as saying she was angry about the delay in rescuers going out to look for Marin. 

According to the paper, Arista and a group of volunteers set out at 3:45 am to look for him, against the advice of sheriff’s deputies. Another volunteer found Marin’s purple-hued body, still seated on his bike leaning against a hillside, with his feet on the pedals.

Sheriff’s officials explained their decision to wait based on adverse conditions.

Sheriff’s Lt. Zach Hall said ideally, the department would have sent a helicopter to follow the approximately 53-mile route that Marin, 34, had planned to follow along Skyline Trail, Main Divide Road and Indian Truck Trail.

But the steady rain that night prevented the helicopter from flying, Hall said. Rescuers also ruled out using motorized vehicles that normally would be able to navigate the dirt road because Friday’s heavy rain left the clay soil too slick. The conditions also made hiking to wherever Marin might have been dangerous.

“We could have set up ourselves for a self-rescue. I would not have sent people up there to get hurt,” Hall said.

His wife also confirms that Marin told her he had fallen; while he was found with just minor cuts and scratches, her description that he was lost and slurring his words during the call suggests a significant head injury.

The paper reports Marin had just bought the bike he died on two weeks earlier, and there was no discussion of postponing the trip — even though an employee at a local bike shop said the route, with a 4,000 foot elevation gain, would have been unridable after Friday’s storm.

Update 4: Marin’s wife, Christyna Arista, invites everyone to view her Facebook page to keep up with the latest information. And a fund has been established to contribute to the family in their hour of need.

Bike rider killed in Santa Ana collision; third SoCal cyclist killed in two days

Note: Due to tonight’s breaking news, you can find this week’s updated bike events on the Events page.

It’s happened again.

For the third time in just over 28 hours, a Southern California bike rider has been killed in a collision with a motor vehicle, this time in Santa Ana.

The Orange County Register reports 52-year old Santa Ana resident Alfonso Franco was riding on the south (eastbound) side of the 2100 block of West 17th Street around 10:45 pm Thursday when he attempted to cross over to the north side. He was struck and killed by a vehicle headed west on 17th.

Franco was pronounced dead at the scene.

The paper reports there were no controlled signal lights in the area that would have allowed the victim to cross safely.

A satellite view shows a six lane roadway with a 40 mph speed limit; at that hour, it’s likely the driver could have been traveling much faster.

This is the 16th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County. It’s also the second in the county in the last two days, and the fourth bicycling death in Santa Ana since 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Alfonso Franco and his family. 

 

Update: Another drunken OC driver, another fatal hit-and-run; arraignment Friday in death of Pasadena cyclist

It’s happened again.

An Orange County man gets behind the wheel after drinking, and flees the scene after running down a bicyclist riding in a Huntington Beach bike lane.

According to KTLA-5, the victim was riding south in the bike lane near Edwards Street and Ellis Avenue just before 11 pm last night when he was hit from behind by a 2012 Toyota Camry.

The rider, identified only as a 37-year old Huntington Beach resident, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver fled the scene — leaving behind one of his front tires — and was found by police about a mile away, with damage consistent with a collision. And presumably, only three tires.

Police arrested 29-year-old Antonio Magdaleno Jr. of Oxnard suspicion of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run leading to death.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Accident Investigator Tai Huynh at 714-536-5670 or Accident Investigator Robert Barr at 714-536-5666.

This is the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County; in both cases, the victim was hit from behind by an alleged drunk driver while riding in a bike lane.

It’s also the 6th cycling death in Huntington Beach since 2011 — half of which were hit-and-runs, and involved drivers under the influence.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Matthew Liechty and his family.

Thanks to Ed Ryder for the heads-up.

Update: The Orange County Register has identified the victim as 37-year old Matthew Liechty of Huntington Beach. And yes, the photo with the story clearly shows the driver fled the scene on only three wheels.

Meanwhile, a source tells me HBPD Investigator Huynh averages over 100 DUI arrests each year, and had 445 in 2008.

Evidently, there are a lot of drunks on the road in Huntington Beach. We all owe a round of thanks to Investigator Huynh for taking some of the off.

Thanks to the OC Register for making this story public.

Update 2: The Witch on a Bicycle points out that the speed limit on that Edwards Street is 45 mph; given that most California drivers exceed the post limit by at least 10 mph, any collision with a cyclist or pedestrian is almost guaranteed to be lethal.

The Register has updated their story to report that Liechty was a former employee of the Orange County Probation Department, and briefly worked in a non-sworn position with the OC Sheriff’s Department before leaving last year.

………

On an all too similar note, I’ve received word that the driver who killed Pasadena cyclist Phillip O’Neill last June is — finally — being arraigned tomorrow.

O’Neill was riding with a companion near Caltech when he was hit from behind as he rode in the lane on Del Mar Blvd; he was struck with enough force to throw him across the road and into a parked car before striking the curb.

The woman he was riding with still struggles with the devastating effects of watching her friend fly through the air to his death. I’m respecting her privacy by withholding her name; however, here is her email urging bike riders to attend the arraignment.

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know, the arraignment for the Pasadena motorist who struck and killed Phillip O’Neill on Del Mar Blvd. on June 15, 2013 is this coming Friday.

Phillip’s family and I would very much appreciate a show of support at the arraignment. We all feel that it’s important to send a message to the city that taking the life of a vulnerable road user is a very serious offense and should be treated as such. I have included details of the arraignment below.

Date: February 21, 2014

Time: Arrival 8:30am. Note that this case is one of six which will be heard this morning. We do not know the order in which the cases will be heard, however the prosecutor believes the case will be heard before noon.

Place: Pasadena Superior Court, 300 E. Walnut, Pasadena 91101

In the event that the case goes to trial there may be additional opportunities to show your support. I will share those if it does. To find out more about how Pasadena CBO’s and residents have come together in response to Phillip’s death, and others like it, go to the Pasadena Complete Streets Coalition website at http://www.pas-csc.org/.

In a follow-up email, she describes the man whose life was ended by a careless driver that day.

Phillip was an amazing person – young but incredibly accomplished, with a master’s degree in renewable energies, he was a master gardener at one of the best botanical gardens in the nation, amateur chef; these are just a few in an impressive list.

I know it’s a lot to ask to sacrifice your morning, especially on such short notice. But if you’re in the Pasadena area on Friday, they could really use your support.

And it couldn’t hurt to send a message to the court that we’re watching this case.

Meanwhile, it serves as a reminder that Pasadena still has a long way to go to make the roads safe for everyone.

Update: 21-year old bike rider killed by 18-year old drunk driver in Santiago Canyon hit-and-run

Scene of the collision, looking back towards oncoming traffic; photo by Biking Brian.

Scene of the collision, looking back towards oncoming traffic; photo courtesy of Biking Brian.

More bad news from south of the Orange Curtain, as a bike rider lost his life on Santiago Canyon Road.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, 21-year old Irvine resident Joseph Robinson was riding on southbound Santiago Canyon in Orange around 7 this morning when he was struck by a car south of Loma Ridge Road. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:04 am.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time.

Google’s street view shows an unprotected bike lane next to a two lane 55 mph speedway, with limited side access, suggesting the rider was most likely struck from behind. Although it’s always possible that he was sideswiped, or that the driver drifted over from the opposite side of the road.

At 55 mph, any collision is likely to be fatal.

Hopefully, more information will be available soon.

This is the 12th fatal bicycling collision in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County; there were at least 12 bike-related deaths in the county last year.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Joseph Robinson and his loved ones.

Thanks to the Seegmiller Law Firm for the heads-up. 

Update: The story gets worse.

According to the Orange County Register, Robinson was killed by an 18-year old drunk driver. 

Yes, 18-years old, drunk and behind the wheel at 7 am. And apparently speeding, despite the already high 55 mph speed limit.

The paper reports Sommer Gonzalez was driving south on Santiago Canyon at an unsafe speed when she turned to the right, suggesting that maybe Robinson was killed in a right hook. (Update: It appears the reference to an unsafe turn refers to a deadly swerve into the bike lane, rather that a turn onto another road or driveway.) 

Unfortunately, the rest is trapped behind their paywall. (Update: The Register has remove the paywall on this story.)

Ghost bike installed by coworkers at Irvine Jax; photo courtesy of Biking Brian.

Ghost bike installed by coworkers at Irvine Jax; photo courtesy of Biking Brian.

Update 2: The story just keeps getting worse.

What was hidden behind the Register’s paywall was the news that Gonzalez had fled the scene. According to the paper, she was arrested a short time later on suspicion of felony driving under the influence and felony hit and run; sounds like a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter would be in order, as well.

She’s expected to be in court today.

A comment from Dom below says she was seen fleeing the scene at high speed.

I am a rider and was second to come upon the crash site. An off duty fire fighter was on the phone with 911 as he saw the car that killed Joseph speeding and badly damaged just a mile or so from the crash, the driver was fleeing.

Joseph was deceased when I arrived just minutes after the hit and run. My deepest condolences go out to Joseph’s family and friends. May god have mercy on the murderer as I have none for her.

A post on the SoCal Trailrider’s forum identifies Robinson as an employee of the Jax Bicycle Center in Irvine. 

This morning a friend of mine was hit and killed while riding his Road Bike on Santiago Canyon Rd by a hit and run driver. Joey worked with me at Two Wheels One Planet in Costa Mesa for about a year and was currently working at Jax in Irvine. He was 21. Joey was a really good road cyclist and one of the safest riders I know of. The woman who hit him fled the scene but we were told she was later caught. I don’t have a lot of information about it right now but Joey will be missed. Be careful out there!
http://theseegmillerlawfirm.com/blog…ad-loma-ridge/

Thanks to Lois, Ann, Dom and Brian for adding to this story. And thanks to the Orange County Register for making their story available to the public.

Update 3: If there’s a hero in this heartbreaking story, it’s OC firefighter Marc Stone. 

According to a gut-wrenching, non-paywalled story in the OC Register, the paper tells how the off-duty Battalion Chief spotted a car with a smashed windshield driving in the opposite direction, and thought it may have hit a deer.

But this was Stone’s regular Sunday morning commute, and he knew bicyclists frequent the scenic road on weekend mornings.

“My gut instinct was just, ‘No one drives with a crunched-up windshield like that,’ ” he said. “I kept thinking, who would keep driving after hitting a person?”

He slowed down, and about three minutes later saw tumbleweed against the guardrail, damaged and smashed as if someone had hit them.

That’s when he saw a black bicycling shoe sitting on the road, next to the tumbleweed.

“Please tell me it isn’t so,” he said to himself.

After determining that the victim’s injuries were probably fatal, Stone called 911 to report what he’d seen.

An OC deputy spotted the car shortly afterwards, as Gonzalez attempted to transfer her belongings to a friend’s car in a parking lot, where she was arrested by CHP officers.

The paper also reports that she was found in possession of meth and drug paraphernalia.

Update 4: Friends and coworkers remember Joseph Robinson in the latest Register piece, which is once again available to the public.

According to the Over the Hump website, there will be a memorial ride for Robinson this Wednesday evening. 

Memorial Ride “Ghost Bike”

In honor of Joseph Robinson Jax Bicycle Center is holding a memorial ride on Wednesday, February 5th.  We will be meeting at Jax Bicycle Center – Irvine at 6:30 am to ride to Joseph’s “Ghost Bike” memorial site on Santiago Canyon Road / Loma Ridge Jeep Trail in Orange, CA.  For those of you who don’t wish to ride, you are welcome to drive to the “Ghost Bike” memorial which will take place at 7:15 am.

Memorial Ride
When:  Wednesday, February 5th 2014 at 6:30 am
Where:  Jax Bicycle Center – Irvine
14210-6H Culver Dr., Irvine, CA 92604
Ghost Bike Memorial Ceremony
When:  Wednesday, February 5th 2014 at 7:15 am
Where:  Santiago Canyon Road / Loma Ridge Jeep Trail in Orange, CA 92869
Thanks to Biking Brian for the head’s up. 

Update 5: Unbelievably, the driver, 18-year old Sommer N. Gonzales has been released without charges. 

According to Rancho Santa Margarita Patch, prosecutors have asked the CHP to investigate further into the case before filing charges. California law only allows police to hold a suspect for 48 hours without filing charges.

She had been held without bail.

Why they can’t file preliminary charges to keep her in custody while the investigation continues is beyond me.

The site also clears up the confusion on how the collision occurred, saying Gonzales’ car drifted into the bike lane due to her impaired state.

Update: 82-year old bike rider Peter Tomaino killed in Laguna Hills Christmas Eve collision

Photo by Ed Ryder

A battered bike bears witness to its fallen rider; click to enlarge. Photo by Ed Ryder

Yet another bike rider won’t be coming home to his family this Christmas.

Earlier this evening, Orange County cyclist Ed Ryder emailed me with news that a bicyclist had lost his life in a Laguna Hills collision — news that has since been confirmed by the Orange County Register.

The victim, who has not been publicly identified, was apparently leaving the Ralphs parking lot on the westside of Paseo de Valencia south of Alicia Parkway when he was struck by a vehicle.

Photo by Ed Ryder

Photo by Ed Ryder

The Register says he collided with the vehicle, which seems unlikely.

Judging from the photo of the bike, it looks more like a side impact; the front wheel isn’t tacoed, while the rear wheel appears to have been separated from the bike.

Unfortunately, no other information is available at this time; most of the Register’s story is hidden behind their paywall.

This is the 85th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Orange County; that compares with 74 and 14, respectively, in 2012.

There is also an unconfirmed report that a rider doored in LA’s Brentwood neighborhood earlier this month has died.

Photo by Ed Ryder

Photo by Ed Ryder

Update: Every bicycling death is tragic, but this one seems even more so. And not just because it happened on Christmas Eve.

According to the Orange County Coroner’s office, the victim was 82-year old cyclist Peter Tomaino, profiled by Orange County Register columnist David Whiting as OC’s toughest cyclist.

According to Whiting, Tomaino was a minimum 100-mile a week rider, even at an age when most riders have permanently parked their bikes — despite being hit by cars and other cyclists, and crashing so many time he’d lost track of the number of times he’s been hospitalized. 

Tomaino’s wife, 15 years his junior, would just as soon see her husband end his cycling career. But the exceptionally fit and lanky Tomaino will have none of that. Of those who say he’s too old to ride a bicycle,Tomaino says, “What do they know? They’re not athletes.”

With a dismissive wave of his hand, he looks me and declares, “Guys like us, we don’t stop. Heck, I’d rather be dead if I can’t cycle.”

Sadly, he got his wish yesterday.

Thanks to Ed Ryder and an anonymous OC source for the head’s up.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Peter Tomaino and his loved ones.

Update: According to KCBS-2, the collision occurred around 1:45 pm Tuesday; he was declared dead at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo at 1:58 pm. 

The station reports the driver was not suspected of drug or alcohol use. 

Meanwhile, both Ryder and OC cyclist and attorney David Huntsman point us to this letter Tomaino wrote to Cycling News over a decade ago.

I read Gordon Dillow’s article on drivers that are in a hurry and run through red lights. Believe me I can appreciate what he is talking about. I’m a 70 year old cyclist who is out there every other day riding 50 to 60 miles. I had one serious accident because of a driver running a red light. A lot of drivers have no consideration and don’t realise how vulnerable we cyclists are. So please drivers look out for us cyclists and let us enjoy our rides without the fear of being hit.

Peter Tomaino
Laguna Hills ,USA
Saturday, November 3 2001

Update 2: David Whiting of the Orange County Register movingly remembers his fallen friend.

………

Correction: My apologies to OC Register’s David Whiting, who I misidentified as Dan in my rush to get this story online — then repeated my error in the comments. 

OC bike rider died a week after she was trapped under car; 80th SoCal cycling death this year

And then there were 80.

On Monday, November 4th, 44-year old Michelle Lounsbury was hit by a car in Costa Mesa in an apparent right hook.

Early last week, I started seeing rumors that she had died; however, it wasn’t until this morning that Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today forwarded confirmation from the Orange County Register that Lounsbury had passed away one week later on November 11th.

For some reason, the story never showed up in any of my internet searches, even though it doesn’t seem to be hidden behind the paper’s paywall for some reason.

According to the original story in the Daily Pilot, the driver — later identified as 48-year old Suja Haq of Costa Mesa — was headed east on Bay Street when he started to turn right onto Newport Blvd. As he turned, he heard a loud noise, and stopped to find Lounsbury trapped under his car.

Rescue personnel had to use emergency equipment to lift the vehicle off her, before rushing her to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana. The Register reports that she showed no brain activity shortly after arriving at the hospital; life support was disconnected a week later after family members gave their consent.

The Register describes Lounsbury as a homeless woman who lived in the Costa Mesa area, and was well-liked in the local homeless community.

“She was always there for everybody,” said Ashley Clark, who kept in contact with Lounsbury through the Churches Consortium’s outreach. …

“She had a cruiser, like a black cruiser. It was very Michelle. She’s kind of like a rocker chick, so her bike was black. She had black hair, black outfits, black everything … The homeless people, the thing about them is they stick together,” Clark said. “So when one of them passes away, it’s difficult. … That moral support that they would’ve gotten from her is gone.”

Lounsbury was scrappy, outgoing and direct, and could also be considerate, big-hearted and compassionate, said Clark and John Begin, pastor at Costa Mesa Church of Christ.

As a homeless person, it’s possible that she may not have had lights on her bike; with black clothing and a black bike, she may have been hard to see in the full darkness of the early morning hour. However, the driver still had an obligation to notice and avoid someone anyone on the street, especially at a major intersection that should have been well lighted.

If there is any good news in this story, it is this.

“She didn’t suffer through this,” Begin said. “From the day of the accident, she wasn’t there.”

Police are still looking for two men who may have witnessed the collision. Anyone with information is urged to contact Traffic Investigator Darren Wood at 714/754-5264.

And let’s remember that there are many reasons someone might become homeless. Their lives are no less valuable than those of anyone else, and their deaths no less tragic.

This is the 80th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, in what has turned out to be an exceptionally bloody year for SoCal bike riders. It is also the 11th cycling death in Orange County, as the county maintains its horrible average of one bicycling death per month.

My deepest sympathy and prayers go out to Michelle Lounsbury and all her family and friends.

Thanks to Amy Senk for her help in confirming this story.

Update: Cyclist killed in Newport Beach collision; 7th cycling death in city since 2010

It’s happened again.

For the second time this year, and the 7th in the last four years, a bike rider has been killed in Newport Beach.

Unfortunately, details are still extremely limited.

However, Corona del Mar Today and Newport Beach Patch both report that the victim, identified publicly only as a man in his 30s, was hit by a passenger vehicle at the intersection of San Joaquin Hills Road and Marguerite Ave at 7:42 Wednesday night. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on which street the victim or the car that hit him were traveling on, or how the collision occurred.

The rider died just half a mile away, and on the same street, from where triathlete Amine Britel was killed by Danae Miller while riding his bike in 2011.

This is the 76th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Orange County. It also matches the total of two cycling deaths in Newport Beach in 2010 and 2012.

Far too many for a city of just 87,000.

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

Thanks to Lois for the heads-up.

Update: The victim has been identified as 41-year old Paul Lin of Irvine. 

According to the Daily Pilot, Lin was turning left from northbound Marguerite onto San Joaquin when he was hit by a car traveling west on San Joaquin. 

Unconfirmed reports indicate Lin was riding with a group when he was killed. A comment from Leo90604 cites one of the other cyclists on the ride as blaming a short light cycle, as well as a driver that may or may not have slowed for the light.

I was able to get a hold of one of the people who was on this ride. The cyclist was turning left and from one of the riders, it is a fast changing light from yellow to red ( I have experienced protected left turn lanes change from green to yellow within 5 seconds)  He checked his left and did not see any oncoming car and he was hit from the right side as the light changed to green. If the cartruck was at a stop he would’ve seen the cyclist turning.

Meanwhile, the always excellent Corona del Mar Today is on top of the back story, detailing the too many bicycling fatalities that have occurred in the city since 2009.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Investigator Scott Grecco at (949) 644-3747 orsgrecco@nbpd.org.

Update 2: According to a comment by Elvis — and apparently confirmed in part by KCBS-2 — Lin was part of a Meetup group ride that had ridden to watch the sunset before returning via Marguerite and San Joaquin

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