Tag Archive for Riverside County

Palm Springs bike rider dies in solo fall

A bad weekend just keeps getting worse, as a bike rider was killed in a solo fall in Palm Springs this morning.

According to Palm Springs Patch, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on a bike path on the 3100 block of East Palm Canyon Drive around 8:38 am when he somehow lost control of his bike. He veered down an embankment, and landed head-first on the pavement at the bottom.

He was pronounced dead at Desert Regional Medical Center.

A satellite view shows a separated bike path on the east side of the street, with a drop off leading to the parking lot next to it.

No word on whether the victim was wearing a helmet. However, relatively slow speed falls, like this appears to be, are exactly what bike helmets are designed to protect against.

This is the fifth bicycling fatality this year; remarkably, it is already the third death in Riverside County — or four if you count Phil Richards, who died yesterday of injuries he suffered in a Calimesa hit-and-run December 29th.

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

 

 

More bad news — Calimesa hit-and-run victim dies two weeks after collision; 89th cycling fatality of 2013

More bad news.

According to a report on Don Davidson’s Facebook page, Phil Richards has died of the injuries he suffered in a Calimesa hit-and-run just before New Years.

I’m deeply saddened to share the news that my very dear friend Phil Richards passed away at 5 p.m. today. I send my sincerest thanks to everyone who offered prayers, love and support to Phil, his wife Annette and their family during the difficult days since his accident Dec. 29. Words cannot express what he meant to me and how he shaped my life. … He will be deeply missed.

As you may recall, Richards was riding south on Calimesa Blvd just north of Singleton Rd around 12:25 pm on Sunday, December 29th, when a car allegedly driven by 42-year old Calimesa resident William Donald Johnson crossed the centerline and hit Richards head-on at an estimated 50 mph. Johnson fled the scene, leaving his victim critically injured in the roadway.

The experienced 55/60+ racer underwent a number of surgeries over the past few weeks, but ultimately, his medical team was unable to save him.

Hopefully, the felony hit-and-run charge against Johnson will be upgraded to a homicide charge.

This is the 89th bicycling fatality in Southern California resulting from injuries suffered in 2013, and the 12th in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Phil Richards and all his family and loved ones.

Update: The San Bernardino Sun says Richards was a 64-year old resident of Beaumont. 

 

Update: 16-year old bike rider killed in Desert Hot Springs hit-and-run

Then there were three.

Just 10 days into the new year, Southern California has already suffered three cycling fatalities, continuing the bloody pace from last year, when at least 88 riders lost their lives on SoCal streets.

The latest came last night, as a 16-year old bike rider was killed while riding with a friend in Desert Hot Springs.

According to The Desert Sun, Reuben Guzman was sharing a single bike with another boy when they were hit by a Nissan pickup at 5:35 pm at the intersection of West Drive and Desert View Ave. One boy was pedaling the bike north on West Drive while the other rode on the handlebars; no word on whether Guzman was on the seat or the handlebars, or whether the other rider was injured.

The boys reportedly veered into the traffic lane where they were struck from behind by the truck; the driver fled the scene, leaving the victims bleeding in the street.

Guzman died at 11:05 pm at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

Police are looking for a blue or gray Nissan pickup with major front end damage.

This is the third bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Riverside County already this year; there were 11 bicycling deaths in the county last year.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Desert Hot Springs Police Department at 760/329-2904.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Reuben Guzman and all his loved ones.

Update: According to KESQ.com, Guzman was pedaling the bike while his friend rode on the handlebars on their way to a local bike park. The other victim has been released from the hospital.

Update: Riverside bike rider killed by suspected drunk driver; first SoCal bike fatality of 2014

That didn’t take long.

Just five days into the new year, Southern California has suffered its first bicycling fatality, as a Riverside rider was run down by a suspected drunk driver on Sunday.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 22-year old David Mendez was riding east on Central Avenue, approximately three-quarters of a mile west of Victoria Ave, at 3:47 pm yesterday when he was hit from behind by a suspected drunk driver. An earlier story puts his location close to the Olivewood Cemetery.

The story says he was riding in the far left lane, suggesting that he may have been preparing for a turn.

Mendez was rushed to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead half an hour later. The story reports he was wearing a helmet; clearly, it was not enough to protect him from the force of the impact.

The 20-something driver was detained at the scene on suspicion of DUI; no word on whether he was arrested.

Anyone with information is urged to call Riverside Detective Ken Madsen at 951/826-8723.

This is the first bicycling fatality in Southern California this year and the first in Riverside County; there were 11 cycling deaths in the county last year. Mendez is also the fifth bike rider to be killed in the City of Riverside since 2011.

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

Thanks to Zak and West Seegmiller for the heads-up.

Update: As a comment from John McB notes, the Press-Enterprise story has been corrected to say Mendez was riding in the far right lane nearest the curb, rather than the left lane as originally reported.

The story also reports that the driver, 31-year old Christopher R. Banning was arrested at the scene on suspicion of vehicle manslaughter without gross negligence and driving under the influence. Any charges will be determined by the Riverside district attorney’s office.

Update: Calimesa hit-and-run victim dies two weeks after collision

This is not what I wanted to write about today.

I was hoping to end this year on a positive note. But maybe the good news is simply that this bloody year, with its epidemic of hit-and-runs and far too many cyclists killed or injured, is finally coming to an end.

And maybe the new year that starts tomorrow will be a better one for all of us.

………

News broke today that a cyclist in Calimesa suffered major injuries in a Sunday hit-and-run.

According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, the bike rider was riding south on Calimesa Blvd just north of Singleton Rd in the small town east of Redlands and Moreno Valley around 12:25 pm. Witnesses saw a northbound car drift over the centerline and hit the rider head-on before fleeing the scene.

The victim was identified on Don Davidson’s Facebook page as Phil Richards, but it does not mention his age or residence.

In a second Facebook post, he said Richardson coded overnight after spending Sunday afternoon in surgery for multiple injuries, but was revived and in surgery again on Monday morning to stop internal bleeding and relieve pressure in his abdomen. Fortunately, he does not appear to have suffered head or spinal injuries — remarkably, since he was reportedly hit at 50 mph.

The car reportedly struck Richards on the left front, damaging the car’s left side and headlight. The vehicle is described only as a compact four door sedan, light blue or green, driven by an elderly white-haired white or Hispanic man.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the department’s Cabazon Station at 951-922-7100.

Prayers or good wishes are definitely in order.

Thanks to Cleave Law and Tom Herman for the heads-up.

Update: The Riverside Sheriff’s Department has made an arrest in the case. 

According to a press release from the department, a deputy assigned to Calimesa noticed a 2005 Ford 500 matching the description of the suspect vehicle, with damage consistent with the collision, parked in a driveway in the 1200 block of Cherry Lane. 

After towing the car to examine the evidence and talking with the owner, 42-year old Calimesa resident William Donald Johnson was booked for felony hit-and-run.

Then again, Johnson had a full week to sober up if he had been drunk or otherwise under the influence at the time of the collision.

Meanwhile, the victim, who has been identified on Facebook as Phil Richards, remains hospitalized following several surgeries

Thanks to Kevin for the heads-up.

Update 2: I’m sad to report that, according to Don Davidson’s Facebook page, Richards died of his injuries at 5 pm on Saturday, January 11th.

This is the 89th bicycling fatality in Southern California resulting from injuries suffered in 2013, and the 12th in Riverside County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Phil Richards and all his family and loved ones.

……….

In somewhat better news, another hit-and-run driver is in custody as of Monday evening after he ran down a rider on an adult tricycle Monday afternoon.

According to the Ramona Sentinel, 69-year old James Swift was riding south on Montecito Road at around 1:05 pm. He was crossing Main Street on the green light when he was apparently right-hooked by a 2002 Yukon Denali.

Witnesses report the driver actually stopped and placed the stroke victim back on the seat, saying he was sorry before running back to his truck and fleeing as fast as he could.

Fortunately, witnesses got the license number of the truck, and CHP officers were able to convince him to turn himself in. The 31-year old driver, who was not publicly identified, faces charges of hit-and-run and driving without a license.

But at least he said he was sorry, right?

………

Finally, Ed Ryder offer moving photos of the ghost bike for Pete Tomaino, the popular 82-year old cyclist killed in Laguna Hills on Christmas Eve.

The way this year has gone, maybe that’s a sadly appropriate note to end on.

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Update: Bike rider killed in Coachella; few details available

Once again, a bike rider is dead in Riverside County. And once again, we have almost no information about what happened.

According to The Desert Sun, the victim was involved in a collision with a car at 5:11 pm, at the intersection of Van Buren Avenue and Avenue 48 in Coachella. He was pronounced dead at the scene; no word on how or why the collision occurred.

The paper identifies the victim only as an older man, while KESQ-TV says he was described as a man in his 50s, wearing dark clothing. The family in the car that hit him is reportedly cooperating with the investigation.

No other information is available at this time.

Hopefully that will change. Because whoever the victim turns out to be, he was someone’s father, son, brother or friend. And he deserves to be remembered for the person he was, instead of a nameless victim.

This is the 79th cycling fatality in the seven-county Southern California area this year, compared to 74 for all of last year, and the 11th in Riverside County.

Update: The victim has been identified as 70-year old Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes, a citizen of Mexico. According to the LA Times, Miramontes was hit while riding in the southbound lane of Van Buren, between Avenues 48 and 49. He was pronounced dead at 5:14 pm. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff’s Dept at 760/863-8990.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ruben de la Cruz Miramontes and his loved ones.

Update: 15-year old bike rider killed in Metrolink collision; first SoCal bike death in nearly a month

We almost made it.

It’s been exactly 26 days since the last bicycling fatality anywhere in Southern California. Lately I’ve kept my fingers crossed the we could make it to a full four weeks; a much needed respite in what has been a very bad year for SoCal cyclists.

Sadly, we didn’t make it.

And neither did a young Riverside man.

News is just breaking that a teenage boy was killed in a collision with a Metrolink train in Riverside earlier this evening; KCBS-2 originally identified him as 15 years old, but later removed that from their story.

According to Murrieta Patch, the young man, who has not been publicly identified, was crossing the tracks at Madison Street near Indiana Avenue at 5:58 pm Thursday when he was struck by a train headed from Orange County to San Bernardino.

A satellite photo shows standard drop-bar crossing arms on both sides of the tracks.

No word on which direction he was riding, or how he ended up on the tracks as the train was coming through. However, a division chief for the Riverside Fire Department speculated that there may have been a second train coming in the opposite direction after the first train had passed.

There are few things easier to avoid than a wreck with a train. Unlike cars, they can’t deviate from a set track; all you have to do is stop when the barricades come down, and wait until they go back up before crossing the tracks — regardless of how safe it may seem at the time.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Riverside County. That compares with 62 and 11, respectively, this time last year.

He is also the sixth Southern California bicyclist to be killed by a train this year, compared to just two in all of last year, and four in 2011.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and all his family and friends; this news will be devastating for whatever school he may have attended.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

Update: A report from KNBC-4 confirms that the victim was 15-years old, and that witnesses said he waited for one train to pass, then was hit by second train coming from the opposite direction when he attempted to cross the tracks. 

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, the victim was riding south on the sidewalk on the west side of Madison Street when he stopped for the first train. 

A witness who recognized the boy waved at him, and watched the wreck unfold. 

“We saw him riding his bike, and we just waved at him,” said Soto, who was heading to a friend’s home in the Casa Blanca neighborhood. “He stopped right there at the (crossing) light” when an eastbound freight train passed by.

“It passed by and 30 seconds later we’re still just waiting there for it (the crossing gate) to lift up. I see a train coming and oh, it’s another train,” Soto said. “I could see the kid go straight and I guess he didn’t look to his left and he got hit. It was a loud pop. At first … I didn’t believe it.”

The witness, who said he was scarred for life by what he’d seen, went on to say that the victim may have been fooled when the warning gate started to lift before coming back down again. 

“I thought something was wrong with it,” he said, “so I guess he (the boy on the bicycle) saw that with the corner of his eye and went straight. I guess now he’s in heaven.”

Update 3: The San Bernardino Sun identifies the victim as Serafin Gonzalez of Riverside.

Update 4: According to the Press-Enterprise, Gonzalez was just out for a quick ride when he was killed; he was dragged over 170 feet by the force of the impact.

He was described by his teachers as an extremely good young man without a mean bone in his body. 

And in an indication of a serious problem, the paper reports that Gonzalez was the fourth person in Riverside to be struck and killed by a second train after waiting for the first train to pass in the last four years.

Update 5: A vigil was held in Gonzalez’s memory Friday night. In a tragic irony, he lived on Railroad Avenue, paralleling the tracks he died on. 

Moreno Valley is killing its bike riders — 2nd cycling fatal cycling collision on same day

Last Thursday was a very bad day for Moreno Valley bike riders.

In addition to the death of Tracey Gage on Perris Blvd, news is just breaking that another rider has died from injuries suffered in a collision just four miles — and four hours — apart.

In a typically crappy cryptic news story that didn’t even get the name of the victim right, the Press-Enterprise reports that a cyclist was injured in a collision on Moreno Beach Drive near John F. Kennedy Drive; the victim died Saturday evening at Riverside County Regional Medical Center.

The Riverside County Coroner’s office identifies the victim as 63-year old John Nodd of Moreno Valley, and says he was struck by a sedan. They identify the site of the collision as just five feet from Moreno Beach Drive, placing it in or near the crosswalk.

A satellite view shows a six lane roadway with bike lanes on each side on Moreno Beach, and two lanes with a bike lane and turn lanes on Kennedy.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in Riverside County. It’s also the fifth cycling death in Moreno Valley in just over two years, suggesting something is seriously wrong in the city of less than 200,000.

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

Cyclist killed in Moreno Valley collision; 4th bike death in city in just over two years

You knew it wouldn’t last.

After going nearly two weeks since the last fatal bicycling collision in Southern California, a bike rider was killed in Moreno Valley yesterday.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 56-year old Moreno Valley resident Tracey Gage was riding north on Perris Blvd between Krameria Ave and Northern Dancer Drive when his bike was rear-ended by a car around 3:40 pm; KESQ-3 places the exact time at 3:44 pm.

Gage was struck by a blue Toyota Corolla driven by 19-year old Steven Gomez of Perris. He was pronounced dead at the scene after suffering major injuries.

The street view shows an unobstructed four lane roadway with limited space to the right of traffic, and a 50 mph speed limit. At that speed, a collision is unlikely to be survivable.

Drug or alcohol use does not appear to have been factor. However, that raises the question of why the driver was unable to see a bike rider directly in front of him in full daylight.

Anyone with information is urged to call the  Moreno Valley Police Department Traffic Division at 951-486-6900.

This is the 65th fatal bicycling collision in Southern California this year, and the eight in Riverside County; that compares to 53 and 9, respectively, for this time last year. And it is the 4th bike death in Moreno Valley in the last 26 months.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Tracey Gage, and all his family and loved ones.

Update: Riverside County cyclist killed on Friday; bike rider injured in Van Nuys hit-and-run

Sometimes, news seems to take a long time to file in from the Inland Empire.

I’m just now learning about the collision that took the life of a Riverside County bike rider on Friday. Although the liability lawyers seem to have found out about it long before I did.

And as usual for most collisions that occur east of the LA County line, the details are sparse, at best.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 57-year old Perris resident Pascual Vega Jr. was hit by a pickup on Menifee Road near Long Street at 8:30 pm, in the unincorporated Nuevo area east of Perris. He was pronounced dead at the scene 10 minutes later.

That’s it.

Not one word that isn’t contained in the equally sparse Coroner’s report, such as how the collision occurred.

Less, in fact, as the Riverside County Coroner places the collision about 500 feet north of Long Street, in an area that doesn’t appear to have cross streets or driveways, suggesting that it was most likely a hit-from-behind, or possibly head-on, collision.

And based on previous experience, I wouldn’t count on a follow-up report, either from the local press or the Coroner’s office.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County. That compares with 47 SoCal bike deaths this time last year, and nine in Riverside County.

My sympathy and prayers for Pascual Vega Jr and all his loved ones.

Update: Surprisingly, there’s has been a follow-up from the Press-Enterprise adding a little more information. 

According to the paper, Vega was riding north on Menifee when he was hit from behind by a 2000 Nissan Frontier driven by 59-year old Carlos Hernandez Sr. of Nuevo. The truck was reportedly traveling at 40 mph when he hit Vega’s bike, which did not have lights or reflectors, even though it was roughly an hour after sunset at the time of the collision. 

Tragically, a comment from Joyce reveals he was a cousin of Michael Vega, killed by a hit-and-run driver in Rancho Cucamonga last August.

………

The Daily News reports that a bike rider was injured in a Van Nuys hit-and-run Monday night.

According to the paper, the collision occurred on the 13000 block of Oxnard just before 8:30 pm. However, the report also places the location as near the intersection of Oxnard Street and Buffalo Ave, which is several blocks west of the 13000 block. The second location might make sense, since it’s a crossing point for the Orange Line bike path.

The victim was taken to a hospital with unknown injuries; no word yet on his or her condition or any identification. And no description on the suspect vehicle or how the wreck happened.

Let’s hope this one doesn’t turn out to be serious. And that the cowardly jerk behind the wheel is quickly brought to justice.

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