A police chase has turned deadly in Loma Linda, as a Loma Linda bike rider was run down by a suspect fleeing from San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies.
According to a notice released by the department, deputies were attempting to serve a domestic violence warrant on 37-year old Eric Tafoya of Rancho Cucamonga at a residence on Benton Court in Loma Linda this morning when they saw him leave the home.
They attempted to stop his car as he drove away, however, Tafoya continued driving, apparently traveling south on Benton Street before turning west on Barton Road.
As he approached the intersection with Anderson Road at 10:48 am, he smashed into a bike rider, then continued on without stopping, until he crashed into a van and fled on foot. He was taken into custody a short time later after being located by a police dog.
The victim, whose identity is being withheld pending notice of next of kin, was taken to nearby Loma Linda Medical Center, where he died at 12:18 pm.
No other information is available at this time.
There’s no word on how fast Tafoya’s vehicle was traveling, or whether the victim was struck on Barton or crossing at the intersection.
However, a street view shows a four lane street that could invite high speeds, with a bike lane on the right shoulder.
Tafoya now faces a possible murder charge, in addition to the original warrant.
Anyone with information is urged to call the Region 1 Major Accident Investigation Team at 909/918-2305; anonymous tips can be made at 1-800/782-7463.
This is the 52nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in San Bernardino County; it’s also the second in Loma Linda since the first of the year.
Update: The victim has been identified as 62-year old Redlands resident Randolph Stephenson.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Randolph Stephenson and his loved ones.
Thanks to Kate for the heads-up.