Tag Archive for Orange County

Update: Driver arrested after bike rider killed in Aliso Viejo hit-and-run

Sometimes I don’t know whether to scream or cry.

A man died this morning after he was run down by a cowardly driver in Aliso Viejo.

And sadly, his wife learned about it when she drove up to the crash scene.

According to the Orange County Register, the victim, publicly identified only as a man in his 50s, was run down by a driver around 6:40 this morning at Wood Canyon Drive and Westridge Drive in Aliso Viejo.

He died after being taken to a nearby hospital.

The driver fled the scene, but was arrested about a mile away in Aliso Viejo around 8:30 am, based on witness descriptions of the vehicle.

KCBS-2 places the time of the crash as 6:30 am, and reports the victim was crossing the street when he was struck, but does not say which street he or the driver was on.

A witness provided first aid until paramedics arrived.

Judging by the video, it appears he may have been riding an ebike with multiple rear lights and reflectors, and was wearing hi-viz.

Sadly, his wife learned of her husband’s fatal injuries in the hardest way possible, by coming on the scene moments after the crash.

At least she may have been able to be with him in his final moments.

The cowardly driver who fled the seen is not suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714/647-7000.

This is at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 51-year old Aliso Viejo resident Michael David Tomlinson.

Meanwhile, the driver has been identified as 38-year old Rogelio Martinez Cuin of Lake Forest; he’s being held on suspicion of felony hit and run and vehicular manslaughter.

Update 2: KNBC-4 reports the driver has been charged in the crash.

Rogelio Martinez-Cuin faces one count each of gross vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run with permanent and serious injury, both felonies, as well as a misdemeanor count of driving on a suspended or revoked license due to a DUI, with a sentence-enhancing allegation of fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter, according to court records.

The complaint against Martinez-Cuin alleges he ran a red light, was inattentive and was driving at an unsafe speed.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michael David Tomlinson and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Mike Wilkinson and Bill Sellin for the heads-up.

Update: Bicyclist killed on PCH in Seal Beach this morning

Still waiting for official confirmation, however, I’ve received two credible reports that a bike rider was killed at PCH and Seal Beach Blvd in Seal Beach around 8:12 this morning from people who passed by the crash site.

More information when it becomes available. However, it looks like SoCal’s killer highway has taken yet another life.

If confirmed, this will be at least the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Still no official confirmation of the crash. However, I received the following update from Allyson Vought Friday evening.

My friend was at the accident scene just after it occurred. He said the rider was on a black Kestrel road bike and sadly was face down on the roadway — unmoving. The bike had been struck from behind at speed and a vehicle’s windshield was badly damaged.

This is a particularly bad intersection that Strava calls “time the light.”  It’s a downhill from a bridge into Seal  Beach on PCH that we riders always make speed — while watching for cars that can travel 50 mph plus through the intersection while traveling straight — or speed ahead of riders on a long right hand turn lane that takes you to the 405. Cars often interfere with the riders in making this turn and all of us have had to dodge, slow or slam on the brakes all too often here! Important to note that this is a marked bike lane as well. Solo riders are often not seen or just ignored by careless drivers in too bag a hurry. 

Update 2: We finally have official confirmation from the Seal Beach Police Department. However, his name has not been released, despite being well known in the community. Thanks to Nani Luculescu for the heads-up.

Update 3: The Orange County Register has identified the victim as 64-year old Long Beach resident Paul Smith.

I refrained from naming him over the weekend, even as his name became common knowledge, out of respect for his family until he was publicly identified.

The paper reports around 150 people attended a memorial service for Smith on Sunday afternoon, on an unpaved shoulder of the roadway where he was killed. They recalled him as a loving, generous and devout man who was a friend to everyone he met.

In 2016, Ed Ryder prepared a report on Southern California’s deadly coast highway through San Diego, Orange and LA Counties for this site, based on stats from the CHP’s SWITRS crash database.

It hasn’t gotten any safer in that time. 

Thanks to Richard, John McBrearty and Jeff for the above link.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for John Smith and all his loved ones.

Thanks to Derek Willburn and Cleave Law for the heads-up.

Santa Margarita BMX rider dies two weeks after he was struck by a car

It may be a new year, but last year’s bad news isn’t done with us yet.

According to the Orange County Register, 25-year old Chandler Espinoza died on New Year’s Day, 17 days after he was hit by a driver while riding his bike.

The Trabuco Canyon man had spent the last two weeks in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo before succumbing to his injuries.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, or why the driver wasn’t able to see Espinoza or stop for his bike while he rode in the crosswalk.

He was riding his BMX bike to work in Rancho Santa Margarita on December 15th when he was struck by the driver’s car shortly after entering a crosswalk just before 3:45 pm.

However, a Caring Bridge post apparently written by Espinoza’s mother says “There appears to have been no reckless behavior on behalf of the driver, who stayed at the scene.” She goes on to describe it as “just a tragic accident.”

His mother describes him as an adventurous risk taker since early childhood.

Photo from Chandler Espinoza Caring Bridge Page

Chandler engages life with his body, mind, and spirit. He is loyal, funny, a great dancer, athletic, a deep thinker, adventurous, protective, generous, and never meets a stranger. 

I knew he had a lot of friends, but I never understood the impact Chandler had on those friends and what he meant to them until this week. Chandler makes everyone feel special. I have a whole new perspective on my son now. 

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

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Chandler Espinoza and all his loved ones and friends.

Update: 78-year old man dies two days after Huntington Beach crash

The Orange County Register is reporting that a man has died following a crash in Huntington Beach.

According to the paper, 78-year old Huntington Beach resident Charles Kam was riding on an unidentified street in the city when his bike was struck by a vehicle at 8:42 am Sunday.

Kam was taken to a local hospital, where he died Tuesday night.

No other information is available at this time.

There’s no word on how or where the crash occurred, or on the identity of the driver. Or if the vehicle that struck Kam even had one, for that matter.

Hopefully the Huntington Beach police will release more information soon. Because frankly, anyone who’s still riding at 78 deserves more than just four sentences in the local paper.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: The Daily Pilot places the location of the crash at the intersection of Edwards Street and Varsity Drive.

Kam was riding east on Varsity Drive when he was struck by a 28-year old woman in a Jeep Cherokee; she remained at the scene. 

Anyone with information is urged to call Investigator Tai Huynh at 714/536-5666 or Officer Robert Frahm at 714/536-5663.

Correction: The Register had originally spelled the victim’s name as Cam, rather than Kam. I have changed this story to correct the spelling.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Charles Kam and his loved ones. 

Thanks to John McBrearty for the heads-up.

 

 

Costa Mesa Fire Captain Mike Kreza died, 2 days after he was struck allegedly stoned driver in Mission Viejo

In the end, a man who spent 18 years saving others couldn’t be saved himself.

News broke this morning that Costa Mesa Fire & Rescue Captain Mike Kreza had died, two days after he was after he was run down by an allegedly stoned driver while riding in Mission Viejo.

Kreza was training for an Ironman Triathlon when his bike was struck by a car driven by 25-year old Stephen Taylor Scarp around 8 am Saturday on Alicia Parkway near Via Burgos.

He was reportedly hit from behind as he was riding in the bike lane on eastbound Alicia Parkway, suffering critical wounds to the head and body.

The Costa Mesa Fire Department had reported that he was unresponsive as a Sunday afternoon, and surrounded by family and friends.

Scarp remained at the scene. He was arrested on suspicion of DUI after police found multiple prescription medications in his car. At last report he was being held on $100,000 bond, pending a hearing scheduled for tomorrow.

Kreza leaves behind a wife and three young daughters.

This is made even more tragic, not just because of the families he leaves behind — both his own and the close-knit firefighter community — but because so many of us owe our lives to the men and women who devote theirs to saving others.

He died, sadly and needlessly, not in a courageous effort to rescue someone else, but as one of us.

A crowdfunding campaign for his family has raised over $126,000 in just two days, more than five times the original $25,000 goal.

This is at least the 43rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mike Kreza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Megan Lynch, Steve S and Steven Bonadio for the heads-up.

 

 

Brother of state legislator killed in Buena Park bike collision on Monday

Another Orange County bike rider lost his life on Monday, in what was an exceptionally deadly two days for SoCal bicyclists.

The Orange County Register reports, almost as an aside, that the 52-year old brother of California Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva was killed riding his bike in Buena Park.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Darlington Avenue and Artesia Boulevard when Raymond William Jaso was hit by the driver of a pickup around 6:18 pm.

No other information is available at this time.

Jaso was homeless following a longtime battle with alcoholism; he recently began drinking again after walking away from a county-run treatment program.

It’s not clear if that may have contributed to the crash.

His homelessness, and struggles with alcohol and mental health issues, should do nothing to diminish the tragedy of Jaso’s life or death.

Quirk-Silva writes movingly about the loss of her brother.

Jaso’s death follows fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, as well as a second Orange County death in Stanton on Monday.

This is at least the 40th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Raymond William Jaso and all his loved ones. 

Ebike rider killed in Stanton crash; driver left scene before returning

This has been a deadly week for SoCal bicyclists.

In the wake of two previously reported fatal collisions in Oxnard and Sun Valley on Sunday and Monday, two other riders lost their lives in Orange County on Monday.

The first of these occurred near the intersection of Cerritos and Magnolia avenues in Stanton around 1:50 pm.

The Orange County Register reports 79-year old Anaheim resident Tam Nguyen was struck by the driver of a car while riding his ebike. He was taken to UC Irvine Medical Center, where he died sometime later.

The driver, who has not been publicly identified, stopped in a nearby parking lot before returning. Police do not believe he or she was under the influence.

There’s no word on exactly where the crash occurred, which street Nguyen was on, or how the crash happened.

A street view doesn’t help, since we don’t know where the crash took place.

Nguyen was initially unidentified at the time of his death. Which should once again serve as a tragic reminder to always carry some form of ID when you ride.

This is at least the 39th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: Peter Flax points out that Cerritos was recommended for a Complete Streets makeover, but rejected due to political concerns. 

He also points out that it is the same street where Debra Gresham was killed two years ago

Let’s hope Orange County is held accountable for not fixing it. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tam Nguyen and all his loved ones. 

 

Morning Links: South Figueroa Complete Street project opens next week, and updates on OC court cases

The long awaited My Figueroa Complete Streets project will finally open a week from tomorrow.

City officials will open the long-delayed makeover of the iconic South Figueroa corridor with an official ribbon cutting, as well as walking and biking tours.

Although not everyone is happy with the unprotected, cab-blocked bike lanes by Staples Center, the pedestrian beg buttons required to cross the street, and the interminable bicycle red lights that give drivers clear priority over people on bikes on a street that’s supposed to serve everyone.

LADOT has promised they’re still fine-tuning the street, but I’m hearing complaints that too many compromises were made to get everyone to sign off on the My Figueroa project.

Let’s hope they get it fixed before Angeleno bike riders write off the remade Figueroa as just another incomplete, auto-centric LA street.

Meanwhile, nothing has been done at all on North Figueroa, which remains just as deadly as ever.

………

It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from our anonymous OC correspondent, who checks in today with a number of updates on outstanding court cases.

Along with a little justified criticism of yours truly.

Hi, here’s a few overdue updates on OC cases, along with some typical ranting.

………

(Alleged) murderer Justin Scott German was released from custody on August 10th on $1mil bond. His preliminary hearing is tentatively scheduled for September 17th. No surprise that this bartender was on probation for DUI at the time of the killing.

………

Baby-faced rager Pratiti Mehta is facing a slew of charges: unsafe right turn, unsafe lane change, unsafe operation of a motor vehicle causing injury, hit and run causing injury, and oh yeah, ASSAULT WITH A DEADLY WEAPON with an enhancement for great bodily injury. And since her fleeing ass provided false information to the investigating officers, there’s another charge.

………

The Rita Faye McLaughlin case drags on and on and on. Last fall, I skipped a “pretrial” hearing. Turns out, it wasn’t yet another pretrial. It was the victim impact hearing. The victim’s siblings and daughter were there, and Rita Faye was supposed to plead. But she changed her mind. The jury trial was scheduled to begin on the 16th, but has been delayed again.

………

Jason Roy Rocha‘s case is also dragging. There will be no good outcome; he needs extensive mental health maintenance and he needs to be permanently banned from operating a motor vehicle, but neither of these things will happen.

………

Taylor Russell Evans pleaded guilty in June and is currently serving 364 days in County. His prelim on June 11th was canceled because he accepted a plea bargain, and sentencing was the following week (I skipped both because I had that gimongous facial hematoma)*. He’ll probably be out by Thanksgiving, and his victim will probably still be dead.

*(Editor’s note: Our correspondent was hit by a driver while riding, suffering what the police consider minor injuries.)

………

Not bike collisions, but Bani Duarte, who was interrupted by officers as she was packing her suitcase to flee the country, will be allowed out if she raises $4mil bail.

And imagine if Garrett James McKinnon injured 12 people in two separate firearms incidents, instead of using a car.

………

Can you stop lauding the OCDA sooo highly? I remind you that killer Becki Lee James was acquitted after she ran down a cyclist, from behind, in broad daylight, inside a 23′ lane, even though her victim was riding in the door zone. The deputy DA at the trial sprawled out in his seat like Dwight the Surly Teen and was clearly irritated to be in the courtroom. The DA absolutely failed to provide the level of prosecution the case deserved, and James is still out there driving around.

Young Dylan Rand-Luby served his 90 days in the cushy pay-to-stay section of Santa Ana’s jail, and is going on about his life.

I was sooo hopeful that the OCDA’s Vehicular Homicide Team would be be brave enough to set some precedent and prosecute on murder/DUI-marijuana charges, but they’ve decided not to go for murder, and so far there are no charges at all.

There’s more, but we’ll save it for another day.

………

BikinginLA sponsor Josh Cohen offers a good explanation of California’s comparative liability law, which could cut the amount you receive in any settlement if a jury finds you’re partly at fault in a crash.

On the other hand, it could also allow you to receive something, even if you’re the one who screwed up.

………

Local

The Los Angeles Public Library has a bouncing baby bakfiets book bike, which was donated to the Baldwin Hills branch by the LACBC.

LADOT and CD3 Councilmember Bob Blumenfield are hosting a public workshop to discuss street improvements for Winnetka Ave between Vanowen St and Victory Blvd next Wednesday.

Bloomberg says forget vaporware tech promises, and just build a decent sidewalk that would allow fans to walk to Dodger Stadium.

A bill just signed by Governor Brown will allow the County of Los Angeles to develop a program to get employers to encourage their workers to use alternative forms of transportation, including bicycling.

 

State

No surprise here, as the San Francisco driver who allegedly admitted he was drunk after running down and killing a bike rider has pled not guilty, with his attorney calling it just a “tragic accident.” He faces a murder count due to two previous DUI convictions, which led to a warning under state law that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while under the influence.

San Francisco bike advocates want to end the city’s cap on bikeshare ebikes.

Police in Elk Grove turned to Facebook to find the owner of a Colnago Extreme C racing bike after busting a burglar. Seriously, register your bikes, already. It doesn’t cost anything, and will give police a much easier way to find you if something like this happens.

 

National

The national Vision Zero Network says it will focus on managing and reducing speeds, while defending the program against cities that treat it like a tag line or a PR campaign. Like Los Angeles, for instance.

Bicycling says bicycling — lower case — is the best way to banish the blues. Unless, of course, you’re sad because you can’t ride for some reason, in which case you’re screwed.

A writer for Bicycling says keep your feet out of our bike lanes.

DIY advice on how to wall mount your bike.

Portland’s Community Cycling Center is looking for a new Director of Equity, Engagement and People.

A Utah man suffered cuts and bruises, and broken glasses, when he was assaulted by a bike rider who objected to the man’s dogs being off-leash on a shared use trail. Seriously, just… don’t. No matter how justified you may think your anger is, violence is never the answer.

No bias here. A Colorado music professor is being blamed for a fatal suicide swerve into the side of a passing tanker truck. A more likely explanation is the truck driver passed too close at too high a speed, in violation of the state’s three-foot passing law, and the victim got sucked into the truck’s slipstream.

The subway apocalypse predicted for New York when the L-train shuts down for 15 months of maintenance next year could be a boon for buses and bicycling in the city.

A group of DC Eagle Scouts just earned their bicycling across the US merit badge.

This is how Vision Zero is supposed to work. DC is fixing a bike lane and intersection where a bike rider was killed earlier this summer.

Arlington VA is conducting a trial next month to see how well bicycling volunteers can deliver emergency supplies and messages following a disaster. But oddly, they’re charging people to participate.

A North Carolina newspaper says if the city is bike friendly, where are the bike lanes?

 

International

The Guardian says urban walking could save humanity.

Bike riding is growing in Toronto, even as the BBC calls it the worst city in the world for bicycling.

London’s Scotland Yard has developed a “shocking” 360° virtual reality film to show the dangers of riding a bike near large trucks.

A member of the British Parliament accepted an invitation to ride with a bicyclist after his Conservative party sent out a since-deleted tweet promising a crackdown on dangerous bicycling. Many, if not most, of LA’s elected officials agreed to meet and ride with bicyclists when they filled out candidate questionnaires from the LACBC, but to the best of my knowledge, no one has ever held them to that. Maybe we should change that.

Seriously? A UK study shows Millennials are spending more on hobbies, including bicycling, than their elders, because they have to have the latest fashionable gear and most up-to-date equipment. Which is the exact opposite of most bike riding Millennials I know, but sounds like a lot of older riders.

A pair of British men now officially own the world record for circumnavigating the globe by tandem, riding over 18,000 miles in a little more than 290 days. Speaking of which, tandems are in again.

This is why you have to ride carefully around horses. A woman in the UK suffered a punctured lung when a bike rider tried to pass between her horse and the curb without announcing his presence. Seriously, equestrians can be self-righteous jerks when it comes to demanding exclusive rights to trails and bridges, but both rider and mount can be seriously injured if the horse gets frightened.

The London driver caught on video deliberately swerving at a group of bike riders wasn’t lying when he said the car was stolen; he faces multiple charges for car theft and driving without a license.

A new British government program will spend the equivalent of $645,000 to train driving instructors to teach bicycle awareness to their students.

 

Competitive Cycling

The Continental Jelly Belly-Maxxis team could be on its way out after 18 years, after Jelly Belly announces it’s pulling out at the end of this year.

An Indiana mountain biker is still winning races after 25 years.

 

Finally…

Apparently, you ride like a moose. An injured goose’s goose isn’t  cooked, thanks to a pair of bike riders.

And evidently, there were no major advances in road bikes before 1948.

 

Bike rider killed in Orange collision last month; few details available

Blame me for the delayed report.

A comment from A. Bauer let me know a bike rider had been killed in a collision in the City of Orange a few days earlier.

That was ten days ago.

In the meantime, I’ve been waiting for more details beyond the initial report in the Orange County Register. Or any real details, for that matter.

That finally came today with a Facebook post from the Orange County Bicycle Coalition.

According to the initial report, a bike rider was headed west Santa Ana Canyon Road when he was struck by a driver going north on Orange Olive Road around 5:30 pm on Thursday, April 26th.

That’s all the information that was available until today, despite checking on a near daily basis.

The OCBC speculates that the victim may have been riding salmon due to the lack of citations against the driver, and the position of his body and bike at the southeast corner of the T-intersection following the crash.

If he had been riding on the right side of the street, it’s likely that a collision with a northbound vehicle would have thrown him to the northeast side of the intersection.

The OCBC also sites a rumor that he may have fallen into the path of the driver.

However, it’s also possible that the limited description may have been wrong; he could have come off the sidewalk or actually been riding on Orange Olive instead.

The victim still hasn’t been publicly identified. That usually, but not always, indicates that the next of kin lives outside the US.

This is at least the 20th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and just the second I’m aware of in Orange County.

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

Thanks to Bill Sellin and A. Bauer for the heads-up.

Santa Ana mountain bike rider collapsed and died in front of South Coast Global Medical Center

Even being in exactly the right place at the right time isn’t always enough.

The Orange County Register is reporting that a man, who has not been publicly identified, collapsed with riding his mountain bike on South Bristol Street in Santa Ana around 6:30 this morning.

He fell directly in front of the South Coast Global Medical Center, and was eventually taken inside where he was pronounced dead.

There’s no word on why he collapsed or the cause of death.

According to the paper, so many motorists stopped to help the victim that police initially thought he must have been hit by one of them.

Too often we only hear about the conflicts between people on bikes and in cars, whether verbal or physical, intentional or otherwise. As sad as this news is, it’s heartwarming to see that there are still people who care about others on our streets.

This is the second bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County.

Unfortunately, issues medical issues like this can arise at any time, often with little or no warning. So let this be a reminder to see your doctor on a regular basis, especially if you’re older or have health issues, to ensure that you’re healthy enough to ride.

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

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