Tag Archive for Orange County

Suspected DUI driver kills adult trike rider and her dog in Garden Grove

No one is safe from intoxicated drivers.

Not women on adult tricycles. Or the dogs they carry with them.

That’s exactly what happened last night in Garden Grove, as  suspected DUI driver killed a cyclist, and her little dog, too.

According to the Orange County Register, a woman believed to be in her 50s was riding her adult tricycle eastbound on Chapman Ave near Faye Ave, carrying a small dog in the bike’s basket, when she was struck from behind by a pickup around 9:45 pm.

One of the Register’s photos from the scene shows damage to the hood of the truck, suggesting she was thrown onto it by the force of the impact, while KTLA-5 says the dog was thrown several feet away, still inside the basket.

No word on whether she was using lights or reflectors after dark.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene; she has not been publicly identified. Her dog died later at an Orange County Animal Services clinic.

The driver, 58-year old Rita Faye McLaughlin of Santa Ana, remained at the scene, and was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI after failing a field sobriety test.

Anyone with information is urge to call the Garden Grove Police at 714/741-5800.

This is the 33rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County; that compares with 10 in the county this time last year. It’s the first bicycling death in Garden Grove since November, 2012.

Update: A comment from the victim’s sister identifies her as 55-year old Suzi V. Ramage, along with her dog Sonny. 

It’s the second family member she’s lost to a drunk driver; her son was killed in 2003.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Suzi V. Ramage and her loved ones.

 

Newport Beach bike rider dies after fall, apparently due to natural causes

Another cyclist has died on the streets of Southern California.

For once, though, no one seems to be at fault.

According to Corona del Mar Today, a 61-year old Costa Mesa man apparently fell off his bike while riding in Newport Beach; sadly, he passed away after being taken to Hoag Hospital.

The Orange County Register reports that police responded to word of a collision on Jamboree Road north of San Joaquin Hills Road at 10:32 am Thursday.

When they arrived, they found the victim in the roadway with no sign of a collision. He appeared to have suffered some sort of medical emergency and stuck his head while falling; no word on whether he was wearing a helmet.

It’s not clear whether his death was due to the head injury or some other cause. An autopsy will be performed later this week.

This is the 31st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in Orange County. That compares to 47 in SoCal this time last year, and ten in the county.

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

 

Update: Bike rider run over and killed in Stanton hit-and-run after falling in the street

More bad news, in what has been a very bad few days.

According to the Orange County Sheriff’s department, as well as various news reports, a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run after falling in Stanton early today.

In a press release sent out earlier this morning, the department reports deputies discovered a man lying in the street at 4:43 this morning after receiving reports of a traffic collision involving a bicyclist.

The victim was dead when officers arrived.

He had apparently been riding in an alley next to Beach Blvd between Cerritos Ave and Main Street when he fell off his bike for some reason, and was run over by an SUV headed south on Beach.

The driver reportedly slowed for a few minutes, then sped off down Beach, and was last seen approaching Katella Ave. The vehicle was described only as a dark colored SUV; no description of the driver.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic Bureau at 714/647-7000 or 949/425-1860.

This is the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. That compares with nine in the county this time last year.

It’s also the seventh SoCal bicycling death this month, and the fifth in just the last six days.

Update: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 40-year old Jorge Covarrubias. 

Update 2: A witness who saw the wreck says he ran up to help after seeing Covarrubias fall off his bike, and got within a few feet before the SUV ran over him. He leaves behind a girlfriend and two children. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jorge Covarrubias and his loved ones.

Thanks to James Johnson of the Johnson Attorneys Group and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the heads-up, and thanks to Bill Sellin for the first update.

Update: 55-year old Masters cyclist dies following apparent solo fall in Huntington Beach

More bad news, in what is turning out to be a very bad weekend for SoCal cyclists.

According to the Huntington Beach Police Department, a 54-year old bike rider was found lying in the street on the 5100 block of Skylark Drive around 12:30 pm this past Thursday.

The unconscious victim, whose name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin, was transported to UCI Medical Center in critical condition. Sadly, he died earlier today, apparently without regaining consciousness.

HBPD officers had found him near a red and black Specialized road bike. They believe he was riding west on Skylark when he lost control of his bike for undetermined reasons and fell to the ground, striking his head.

He was not wearing a helmet.

The report says no other vehicle appeared to be involved, and the site was free of any obvious hazards; a street view shows a wide, flat and unobstructed street.

Of course, it’s always possible for a close pass by a car, or for an animal or some other object, to cause a fall, without actually making contact or damaging the bike.

Anyone with information is urged to call Huntington Beach Police Accident Investigator Josh Page at 714/536-5670 or Accident Investigator Bob Barr at 714/536-5663; call 714/960-8825 after hours or on weekends.

This is the 28th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Orange County; that compares to nine in the county this time last year. And also the 12th bike-related death in Huntington Beach since December, 2010.

Update: The victim has been identified on Facebook as Steve McDonald; a memorial ride will be held in his memory on Saturday. 

An email identifies him as a Masters racer new to the 55/60 age group, and reports that the fall may have been the result of a broken chain.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Steve McDonald and his family.

Thanks to Calvin Design for the first link, and Cleave Law for the update.

 

 

Update: 66-year old woman killed riding her bike in Laguna Hills

Sad news from Laguna Hills.

According to KTLA-5, a woman was killed when she was hit by a vehicle while riding her bike at Paseo De Valencia and Kennington Drive around 1:40 pm Saturday.

The victim was identified only as a woman in her 60s, pending notification of her family. No other information is available at this time.

A photo from the scene shows a Toyota minivan with its windshield smashed on the right side.

A satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane on the southbound side of Paseo De Valencia, while the Aliso Creek Bikeway parallels the road on the northbound side, crossing Kennington in the crosswalk. There is a traffic signal at the intersection.

Paseo De Valencia marks the border between Laguna Woods to the west and Laguna Hills on the east. The OC Sheriff’s Department places the collision on the Laguna Hills side, suggesting the victim may have been riding on the bikeway and was struck when she attempted to cross Kennington; however, that is merely speculation at this point.

This is the 23rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the third in Orange County; that compares to 44 in SoCal and nine in the county this time last year.

Update: The Orange County Register reports the 66-year old victim was riding south on the bike path when she rode out into the northbound traffic lane on Paseo De Valencia to avoid other cyclists coming in the opposite direction. As she did, she was hit, apparently head-on, by a minivan driven by a 59-year old man, who remained at the scene.

Bystanders performed CPR until the fire department arrived and took her to Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills, where she died less than half an hour later.

She may be known in the local bicycling community, as friends described her as an avid cyclist who rode 30 to 40 miles a day.

Update 2: The Orange County Coroner’s office has identified the victim as 66-year old Michiko Day of Laguna Woods.

Bill Sellin forwards a graphic that clearly shows what happened to cause the collision. 

The red arrows represent the route Day took as she exited the bike path to cross Kennington Drive, then swerved into traffic to avoid other riders, indicated by the blue arrows. 

So she appears to have been a victim, not just of the car and driver that took her life, but an inadequate bikeway design that forces riders off a protected bike path and out into the street before coming back into the crosswalk.

Day-Collision-Site

 

Update 3: The Orange County Register reports that Michiko Day was just one block from home when she was killed while riding in Laguna Woods last month. Her riding partner confirms what we thought, that poor road and bike path design may have contributed to her death.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Michiko Day and her loved ones.

62-year old crosswalk rider killed in Santa Ana left cross collision

Bad news from Santa Ana.

I learned late last night from a source in Orange County that a bike rider was killed in a left cross while riding in a crosswalk Monday evening.

The victim, identified by the Orange County Coroner as 62-year old Robert Horton, was riding in a crosswalk along 17th Street when he hit by a car turning left onto the northbound I-5 Freeway onramp around 5:20 pm.

He was taken to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where he was pronounced dead at 6:06 pm.

Presumably, Horton was riding on the sidewalk when he rode into the crosswalk; no word on which side of the street he was on or which direction he was riding.

Riding on the sidewalk is banned in the downtown area in Santa Ana; whether that would apply along the freeway is unclear. Depending on how the local police apply the confusing laws on riding in a crosswalk, he could be blamed for the collision if he was riding against traffic.

However, looking at Google Earth, it’s unclear how the driver could have made a legal left turn onto either onramp, since they appear to be designed for right turns only, with left turns blocked by the median.

And while the Orange County Register identifies the make and model of the car, there’s no word on the driver. Or even if the car had one.

This is the 17th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Orange County. That compares with 38 and eight, respectively, this time last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Horton and his family. 

Thanks to James Johnson of Johnson Attorneys Group for the heads-up.

Update: Guilty plea in case of fallen OC cyclist Joseph Robinson

A source calling from the courthouse in Orange County has just reported that the driver who killed 21-year old Jax Bicycle Center employee Joseph Robinson has pleaded guilty to hit-and-run and drug charges, and will face significant jail time.

Sommer Niclole Gonzales, just 18 at the time of the collision, was sentenced to spend the next 11 years of her life behind bars after she admitted responsibility and waived her right to appeal.

Robinson was taking the long way to work on a sunny February morning last year when he was run down from behind while riding in the bike lane on Santiago Canyon Road.

He was hit with enough force to knock him and his bike completely off the roadway; his body was only discovered because an off-duty fire captain spotted a car with a shattered windshield speeding in the opposite direction, then saw a single shoe lying on the side of the roadway.

Gonzales was arrested in a parking lot a short time later as a friend helped her transfer her belongings into another car, in an apparent attempt to cover up her responsibility for the crime. She was found in possession of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia at the time of her arrest.

No word on why her friend wasn’t charged for assisting in the attempted coverup.

The victim’s family was reportedly in tears following the sentencing.

According to the source, the judge’s final words to her were “What a tragedy. Just because you wanted to do meth.”

Update: I corrected the above quote from the judge, which was off slightly due to a bad phone connection.

Gonzales will get credit for 888 days served, reducing her sentence by nearly two-and-a-half years; she’ll also serve three years parole upon her release.

Update 2: According to a press release from the Orange County DA’s office, Gonzales was found guilty of:

  • Felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated
  • Felony hit and run with death
  • Misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor use and under the influence of a controlled substance
  • Misdemeanor count of possession of a controlled substance paraphernalia
  • Along with a sentencing enhancement allegation for fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter

Robinson’s family offered emotional impact statements, including this video from his mother showing him riding in happier days.

Then there’s this moving quote from his sister.

“My heart literally hurts when I think about my brother, I can’t think about him without crying. My drive to work takes me right past the accident site where his ghost bike is still hanging. Every morning and night as I pass that spot, I tell Joey aloud that I love him and cry.”

If you’ve ever wondered what harm driving under the influence can cause, that pretty much sums it up.

Thanks to Jeffrey Fylling for the press release.

Update 3: My News LA adds more details, including quotes from Robinson’s family members and his girlfriend. 

The story also quotes Gonzales’ attorney explaining that she had first tried marijuana at age 12, and quickly moved on to meth, which she had been her drug of choice ever since.

According to the attorney, she knew she had hit something, and stopped to see what it was, but continued on when she didn’t see Robinson or his bike. 

Update: 41-year old bike rider killed in Anaheim collision with tanker truck

April is already off the a bad start, after a remarkably safe first three months of the year for Southern California bike riders.

According to the Orange County Register, a bike rider was killed Wednesday evening in a collision with a truck in Anaheim.

Very few details are available at this point.

The victim was hit by a truck around 7:15 pm at the intersection of Orangewood Ave and Harbor Blvd. Anaheim police arrived at the location to discover that the victim had been pronounced dead at the scene by members of the Garden Grove fire department.

No word on how the collision occurred, or the identity of the victim. Needless to say, the truck driver was uninjured.

A satellite view shows a bike lane on Orangewood east of Harbor, but none to the west of the busy intersection, and no bike lanes in either direction on Harbor.

This is the 11th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Orange County. That compares with 28 in SoCal, and five in Orange County this time last year.

Update: The Register reports the victim has been identified as 42-year old Timothy Binau; no city of residence was given.

An update to the original story says Binau was riding south on Harbor when he was hit by a southbound tanker truck. The paper reports investigators aren’t sure how the collision occurred.

Photos show he was riding a mountain bike, but don’t give any insight into the collision. 

However, raw video from the scene shows the covered body of the victim lying by the right curb several feet before the intersection, and police examining the middle of the rear tanker trailer of the truck. (Warning — the unedited video may be too graphic for some viewers.)

That suggests that the rider may have been sideswiped by the trailer or right hooked as the truck prepared to turn. However, there may be other possible explanations for how the wreck took place.

What is highly unlikely is the Register’s suggestion in the headline that the victim “crashed into” the truck.

Update 2: I’m told that Binau lived in the Anaheim area, and may not have had lights on his bike as the sun was setting at the time of the collision.

I’m also told the tuck driver was so disturbed by the collision that he was taken to a hospital for observation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Timothy Binau and his or her loved ones.

 

Breaking news: OC lawyer guilty in 2013 DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings

Word is just coming in that an Orange County attorney has been convicted in the DUI death of cyclist Eric Billings two years ago.

According to a press release from the OC District Attorney’s office, Hasti Fakhrai-Bayrooti pled guilty to a single felony count of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated on Tuesday.

The DA reports the 41-year old Rancho Santa Margarita woman had prescription drugs — including Xanax and Suboxone — in her system when she ran down Billings’ bike from behind on March 15, 2013, as he rode in a marked bike lane on Santa Margarita Parkway in Mission Viejo.

Fakhrai-Bayrooti was apparently unable to plead down to a lessor charge; she was convicted on the same count she was originally charged with, which is unusual in cases that don’t go to trial.

According to the press release, she is currently out on $100,000 bond, and faces up to four years in state prison when she is sentenced on May 8th.

She also faces possible removal from the state bar following her conviction; she has been an active member of the bar since 2005.

Thanks to Edward Rubinstein, and Amy Senk of Corona del Mar Today for the head-up. (And apologies for misspelling Rubinstein’s name at first.)

 

Weekend Links: OC hit-and-run driver charged in death of PCH cyclist; fund set to help injured bike rider

It looks like LA’s District Attorney could learn something from her counterpart in Orange County when it comes to traffic crime.

The OC DA announced Thursday that 20-year old Dylan Thomas Randluby of Emerald Bay has been charged with felony hit-and-run with injury and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence in the death of 55-year old cyclist John Colvin.

Colvin was riding in the bike lane on North Coast Highway last June when he was run down from behind by Randluby’s car. Randluby allegedly kept driving despite a shattered windshield; he was followed by a pair of witnesses and arrested after stopping a mile later.

In too many other cases, hit-and-run has been essentially forgiven when drivers stopped nearby, returned to the scene later or turned themselves in even days later. It’s nice to see Orange County prosecutors treat it like the serious crime it is, even if the charges could be a little stiffer.

Randluby has apparently been released on $50,000 bond; KTLA-5 reports that no one by that name was in custody as of Thursday.

Thanks to Amy Senk and Jeffrey Fylling for the heads-up.

………

A Giveforward account has been established to help raise $30,000 for a bike rider who was severely injured when she was hit from behind at an estimated 50 mph while riding in a bike lane.

And an LA rider wants your help thanking the firefighters who came to his aid when he was injured on Angeles Crest.

………

Local

KNBC-4 says LA has a crack problem — potholes and surface cracks in the streets that can seriously injure cyclists. And quotes BikinginLA sponsor Jim Pocrass, as well as frequent contributor Patrick Pascal.

The LACBC shares an interview with new Executive Director Tamika Butler.

Santa Monica officials propose naming their coming bike share program “Breeze;” the city is also hosting a Valentine’s Day Kidical Mass family ride.

 

State

Rather than improve safety on the Coast Highway, Laguna Beach installs sharrows and signage to steer riders away from it.

Does a bike co-op by any other name smell as sweet? Santa Barbara City College opens a DIY bike shop.

A Danville court case could determine whether the safety of cyclists should be considered in the environmental review process for new developments. Maybe we should be classified as an endangered species.

One of the victims in that recent Mendocino County collision where an 18-year old driver mowed down five riders in rapid succession recounts her story in horrifying detail; she remembers seeing the driver sneer at her through the windshield before she fell under the car and was dragged 400 feet.

 

National

If you wondered who would ever buy that $20,000 S-Works McLaren Tarmac, the answer is cyclist and former baseball great and alleged doper Barry Bonds.

Charges have been dropped against a 74-year old Arizona woman who kept going after hitting a bike rider, blew through a red light and t-boned a truck, killing the driver — while on Ambien, no less — because she was found incompetent to stand trial. And to drive, evidently.

After a 14-year old Kentucky boy with Cerebral Palsy has his bike stolen, a stranger reaches out to buy him a new one.

Deadspin drops in, unwelcomed, on the nation’s second-oldest alley cat race in Minneapolis; thanks to Michael Eisenberg for the link.

A Maryland county finds drivers are at fault in 58% of collisions involving bike riders.

The Baltimore paper looks at why some drivers flee after a collision; maybe because they’re at fault 58% of the time.

A Florida county becomes the first in the state to criminalize harassment of bicyclists, pedestrians and people in wheelchairs.

 

International

Get your video fix from Road.cc with this roundup of the year’s best bike videos, including a texting driver shouting at a rider to get in the bike lane and a massive pile-up in the Tour Down Under.

The head of London’s licensed taxi drivers association says maybe he went a tad too far in comparing bicyclists to terrorists. If we were really like ISIS he would have been beheaded for that remark.

In yet another pie-in-the-sky — or maybe pie-in-the-ground, in this case — plan, a London design firm proposes converting abandoned subway tunnels into underground bikeways.

Kind-hearted Londoners raise £6,000 to send the body of a bike rider killed in the city back home to Greece.

British authorities have finally dropped charges against a bike rider who was fined £50 after he swerved out of a bike lane to go around a phone booth. Yet no one seems to ask why was there a phone booth in the bike lane to begin with.

A Brit bike rider is called the most hated man on two wheels after using his helmet cam to help police convict 70 scofflaw drivers.

A Czech group has sent 200 bikes to Cameroon to help protect African elephants. And no, they aren’t so the elephants can ride them to safety whenever poachers show up.

In one of the most over-the-top editorials in recent memory, a “hard-hitting” writer for the Sydney, Australia Telegraph accuses the Lord Mayor of desecrating the city with gridlock-inducing bike paths.

 

Finally…

Plans for a Halifax, Nova Scotia bike lane are put on hold when a hot dog vendor complains it will put him out of business; evidently, bike riders don’t eat hot dogs in the Great White North. A British bike lock goes high fashion.

And if mountain biking isn’t challenging enough, maybe it’s time to try it with one wheel. Or perhaps racing through shopping malls.

 

%d bloggers like this: