It’s bad enough when someone is injured or killed on the streets because of what we euphemistically call accidents.
If everyone obeyed the law and used the roads safely, there wouldn’t be any accidents.
But worse still is when someone gets behind the wheel of motor vehicle after drinking or using drugs — or willing operates their vehicle in any other impaired or distracted manner — and takes the life of another human being as a result. And worse still, flees the scene, leaving a total stranger to die in the street.
According to the Ventura County Star, S.D. Whitmansegal did exactly that when she collided with a bike being ridden by 46-year old James Laing of West Hills; earlier reports indicated the then-unidentified victim was 30 years old.
The Star reports that Whitmansegal was followed by witnesses to a nearby parking lot where she was arrested on charges of hit-and-run, vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence.
My prayers and condolences go out to James Laing’s family, friends and loved ones.
And don’t ask me what I think about someone who could do something like this. I wouldn’t like the answer I’d give right now.
Then again, she may find the real punishment will be trying to live with herself after this.
Thanks to the Ventura County Star for following up as more information became available.
Update: A few other details are slowly coming in. According to the L.A. Times, both Laing and Whitmansegal were both traveling east on Agoura Hills Road.
Meanwhile, the Star reports that Laing struck the side of Whitmansegal’s car and was thrown onto the road. When the case goes to court, the defense will undoubtedly claim it was a SWSS and that Laing swerved into the car for no apparent reason; hopefully the witnesses who tracked the driver down saw what happened.
And the Agoura Hills Patch inexplicably identifies the driver as Stephanie Segal of Woodland Hills, despite a police report identifying the driver as Whitmansegal.
Update 2: Bob points us towards a report on KCBS-2 that identifies the driver as Stephanie Segal, and says she is currently being held on $250,000 bail. The Associated Press confirms that S. D. Whitmansegal is also known as Stephanie Segal.
Laing is the 13th cyclist killed in Southern California in the last five weeks, and the 13th since the beginning of August.