Tag Archive for Oxnard

Another drunken hit-and-run, another bike rider left to die in the street

We should all be sick of this by now.

Another drunk driver. Another hit-and-run. Another bike rider left to die in a crumpled heap on our streets.

This time, it happened in Oxnard, at 2:09 this morning, when 43-year old Gerald Garcia of Oxnard was riding south with a friend in the bike lane on Rose Avenue, just below Raider’s Way.

A 2000 Volkswagon GTI driven by 29-year old Oxnard resident Policarpio Diaz was traveling in the bike lane and rear-ended Garcia’s bike. Garcia was thrown off, while Diaz fled the scene with the bicycle still trapped beneath his car.

It’s entirely possible the wide bike lane may have looked like a travel lane in the early morning hour. To a drunk, anyway.

Witnesses aided police in locating Diaz’ car — apparently with the bike still trapped underneath — and they took him into custody a short distance away. Diaz was booked into Ventura County Jail on felony counts of DUI, Hit and Run and Vehicular Manslaughter, as well as two outstanding misdemeanor DUI warrants.

That’s right.

Diaz had two outstanding warrants for DUI, yet he was still allowed to remain on the streets to kill another human being.

Tragedies like this will keep happening as long as our legal system refuses to take drunk driving, hit-and-run and other traffic crimes seriously. Garcia is just the latest in a long string of traffic victims, with no end in sight.

And if that doesn’t piss you off, maybe it should.

This is the 11th confirmed bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the first in Ventura County. It’s also at least the fifth bicycling fatality in Oxnard in the last 38 months.

My deepest sympathy to Gerald Garcia and all his family and friends.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa and Kelly for the heads-up.

And no thanks to the California DMV and a legal system that continues to value the rights of drunk drivers over the right of the rest of us to simply stay alive.

Bike rider killed in Oxnard collision; third SoCal cycling death in three days

More bad news, following the death of two young riders over the past weekend.

According to the Ventura County Star, 45-year old Oxnard resident Daniel Martinez Meza was killed when he was hit by a car attempting to enter Highway 101 in Oxnard this morning.

Meza was riding north on Rose Avenue approaching the 101 overpass around 8 am Monday when 20-year old Pablo Tellez Chavez attempted to change lanes to access the freeway onramp, striking Meza, who died at the scene.

It looks like bad road design may be at least partially responsible for this one. A satellite view shows a bike lane over the overpass, but no markings of any kind to guide drivers or cyclists leading up to it, creating an inevitable conflict zones as riders move left to enter the bike lane and drivers drift right to access the onramp.

The paper notes that Meza was not wearing a helmet. Whether that is relevant depends entirely on whether he died as a result of a head injury, and whether the collision was even survivable, based on the speed of the car that hit him and exactly how the collision unfolded.

This is the 72nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, compared to 65 this time last year. It’s also the 6th in Ventura County — twice the total for all of last year — and the second in Oxnard since the first of this year.

My sympathy and prayers go out to Daniel Meza and all his family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Machiko Yusada for the heads-up.

Update: A comment from Colleen provides some further clarity in this case.

This is indeed a bad road design. I drove past this accident this morning. A white sheet on the pavement in front of a car brings you to tears. The bicyclist was actually 1/3 the way over the overpass, not approaching the on ramp. Cars that wish to enter the North bound 101 fwy have about 10-20 feet to enter the far right lane before they are prohibited to do so by the solid white line which is also part if the bicycle lane. Drivers INTENTIONALLY speed pass the long line of law abiding drivers, cross over the bicycle lane and solid white line, and force their way into the fwy on ramp lane. Every day on my way home from work I witness one of these drivers nearly causing an accident by illegally cutting in front me or someone ahead if me, many time with a bicyclist in the bike lane. The plastic orange reflective posts should be installed along each side of the bike lane that crosses the overpass so the drivers will be discouraged from cutting in front of others and killing people. Until then, I would be happy to see a motorcycle cop posted there giving tickets.

Bike rider killed in Oxnard collision; 3rd SoCal rider to die in 4 days — and 10 ahead of this time last year

A bad week just keeps getting worse.

The Ventura County Star reports that a 68-year old bike rider was killed when he was hit by a massive SUV operated by an 18-year old driver.

The collision occurred around 8:35 last night on Pleasant Valley Road west of Terrace Ave in Oxnard. According to the paper, the victim was hit by the eastbound GMC Jimmy when he entered the roadway from the south side of the street.

However, there is is a clearly marked bike lane along the roadway, suggesting that the driver may have drifted into the bike lane to hit the rider from behind, or that the cyclist may have been forced into the traffic lane for some reason. It’s also possible that the rider may have crossed over the sidewalk to enter the street from the nearby residential area, though that should have placed him in the bike lane, rather than in the path of the truck.

The victim was pronounced dead after being transported to Ventura County Medical Center.

This is the 30th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, placing us far ahead of this time last year, when just 20 riders had died on SoCal streets. It’s also the fourth bicycling death in Ventura County, already exceeding the total of three for all of last year, and matching the total of four in 2011 — just five months into the year.

The victim is the third cyclist to die in Southern California in the last four days, two of which occurred in Ventura County.

My deepest sympathy for the victim and his family. 

Thanks to Machico Yasuda for the heads-up.

Update: Six-year old Oxnard boy killed while riding bike on Thanksgiving

The Ventura County Star reports the heartbreaking news that a six-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in Oxnard on Thanksgiving Day.

Anthony Martinez was riding on the sidewalk on the south side of the 1300 block of West Olive Street at around 4:20 pm when he reportedly rode into the street and was hit by a full-size GMC Sierra pickup driven by 50-year old Jesus Calderon Ruvalcalba. He was knocked off his bike and run over by the truck.

Despite the fact tat both Martinez and Revalcalba were traveling east, this does not appear to be a right hook; the collision seems to have occurred mid-block rather than at the intersection. There’s no report on how fast the truck was going, or any other factors that could have contributed to this tragedy.

However, the police report indicates that Revalcalba is not suspected of drug or alcohol impairment.

There’s also no word on why the boy may have left the sidewalk and ridden his bike into the street.

However, it’s important to remember that children are wild cards when it comes to traffic; they can often act on impulse with no consideration or awareness of the possible consequence. You should always give children the widest possible berth while driving or biking, and be prepared to respond instantly to unexpected actions.

The investigation is continuing; anyone with information about this collision is urged to contact Senior Officer Maria Peña at 805-385-7750.

This is the 64th confirmed traffic-related bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 4th in Ventura County.

My sympathy and prayers go out to Anthony Martinez’ family and loved ones.

Update: A follow-up story by the Star fills in most of the gaps in the earlier reports.

Evidently, Ruvalcaba, who lived on the same block as the victim’s family, had his view of the sidewalk blocked by a large commercial truck that the victim was riding around. Neighbors described Ruvalcaba as a very cautious driver, who was in tears following the collision.

Meanwhile, Martinez was described as a cheerful, intelligent and outgoing boy, according to the Star.

The 6-year-old boy struck and killed by a pickup while riding a bike near his Oxnard home Thanksgiving afternoon was a smart, athletic child who loved celebrations so much he called himself “Mr. Holiday,” grieving family members said Friday.

“He was just sunshine in our lives,” said his mother, Gloria Burciaga, 40

Oxnard cyclist killed in Sunday collision; 14th SoCal bike death in last four months

In yet another SoCal cycling fatality, 20-year old Rene Ambritz was struck and killed in Oxnard on Saturday.

The collision occurred about 6:45 pm at the intersection of Ventura Road and West Hemlock Street. The Ventura County Star reports that Ambritz was riding against traffic with no lights, and was struck by a van driven by Paul Castenada after Ambritz ran the red light. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

His death marks the 14th cycling fatality I’m aware of in Southern California since the beginning of August.

.………

In other cycling collisions, an unidentified ninja cyclist is in intensive care after reportedly running a red light and getting hit by a car in Thousand Oaks late Sunday; the rider was wearing dark clothing and riding without lights, and had no identification on him at the time of the collision.

And fifty-nine-year old cyclist Donald Schick suffered major injuries in a Castaic hit-and-run on Sunday afternoon. Stephanie Leann Argo of Castaic was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and felony hit-and-run.

Outside the Southern California area, a teenage Vacaville cyclist was killed after being hit by two cars last week; thanks to Witch on a Bicycle for the link.

Meanwhile, a noted NorCal track coach was severely injured in a hit-and-run while riding his bike; reading between the lines, it sounds like it could have been an intentional assault by an impatient driver. And a dangerous stretch of highway may finally get a bike lane, too late for the rider killed there two weeks ago; it was the 2nd cycling fatality for the driver involved.

Finally, Jose Luis Huerta Mundo, the driver who killed OC cyclist Michael Nine last July, is currently on trial for misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter. A Costa Mesa writer notes that Mundo was in the country illegally and had been cited four previous times for driving without a license, as well as once for not registering his truck, and had ignored two signs prohibiting the illegal maneuver that resulted in Nine’s Death. However, he stresses that now is not the time to hate.

Seriously, as angry as we may get, is there ever a good time for that?

%d bloggers like this: