Tag Archive for San Bernardino County

Another bike victim In San Bernardino; cyclist seriously injured in Chula Vista; and charges in October OC hit-and-run

Let’s hope bad news just comes in twos this time.

Less than 24 hours after news broke that a bike rider had lost his life at the hands of a drunk driver in Huntington Beach Wednesday night, news is coming in that another rider died earlier that evening, this time in San Bernardino.

According to the Press-Enterprise, the 43-year old cyclist, who has not been publicly identified, was riding west on the 1200 block of West Kendall Drive around 6:40 pm when she swerved across the roadway. While riding against traffic in the number 1 (left) lane of the roadway, she was apparently hit head-on by an eastbound Mustang driven by a 20-year old woman.

She was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on why she suddenly started riding against traffic. But let this serve as a reminder to never ride salmon — let alone in the middle of the roadway — and always be aware of other traffic on the roadway before making any sudden moves.

This is the 15th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in San Bernardino County.

My prayers and sympathy for the victim and all her loved ones.

………

More bad news comes from San Diego County, where a bike rider suffered life threatening injuries in a collision with a truck in Chula Vista.

According to San Diego’s 10News, the victim was apparently crossing the offramp to the southbound I-805 at Bonita Road when he was hit by a truck exiting the freeway around 10 pm Wednesday.

Google’s satellite view shows what appears to be a bike lane leading up to the offramp.

Police say the driver stayed at the scene and did not appear to be under the influence.

The station reports initial evidence suggests the rider was at fault. However, traffic exiting the freeway is required to yield to through traffic; unless the victim was riding against traffic or failed to observe a traffic signal, it’s hard to imagine how he could have been at fault.

If police are saying he did go through a red light, the question is whether there are any independent witnesses other than the truck driver to attest to that, and if the signalization provided enough time to get across the intersection.

Either way, it sounds like prayers or good wishes are in order once again.

………

Jeffrey Fylling forwards word that Orange County prosecutors have filed charges against the truck driver who killed 19-year old cyclist Manuel Morales Rodriguez last October.

Forty-eight year old Filemon Reynaga was to be arraigned on Friday on one count of felony hit-and-run causing death and a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

Reynaga is accused of hitting Rodriguez as he pulled his semi truck out of an Anaheim driveway, then dragging the victim and his bike under his truck for up to 150 feet before fleeing the scene without stopping. Rodriguez was then hit by a second vehicle, which remained at the scene, and died as a result of inures suffered in the two collisions.

If convicted, Reynaga faces up to five years in state prison. He’s currently free on a ridiculously low $50,000 bail.

………

Finally, while we’re on the subject, I received this email from a rider troubled by all the recent bicycling deaths in Orange County, following the death of Matthew Liechty on Edwards Street in Huntington Beach on Wednesday. (Note: I added the links.)

But take fair warning. It’s a difficult read. And the last line hits like a punch in the gut.

Edwards became an alternate commute route for me after Roger Lippmann’s slaughter… until I realized that swinging over to PCH took me right past Becki Lee James’ house, which creeps me out. And now I’m disinclined take Goldenwest (whose “vicious hills” had become “gentle rollers” pretty quick after I abandoned the flat PCH commute) because I’ll picture the crunched-up Camry in the Ralph’s parking lot.

Have I ever passed this Matt Liechty on my commute? Was he the guy with the really, really bright headlamp? Were the distant sirens I heard last night responding to this incident?

What. the. holy. serious. fuck. Can’t I have a single fucking street on my commute where somebody hasn’t been slaughtered? Is that too much to ask?

And that piece you linked to recently about ghosts… I see those ghosts everywhere, sometimes in visual incarnations. New flowers on Lippmann’s memorial, a year and a half later? I hit the brakes and looked out at the sunshine sparkling on the water and wanted to apologize to him at the top of my lungs because he got a death sentence and his killer only got six years. Every time I pass 9th Street in Sunset Beach, every time, I still see the sea breeze blowing the ashes left behind by the flares set down for the investigation of Kenneth Prevatte’s death: gray ashes, grey asphalt, gray clouds. At 43rd & Wadsworth, where nobody from Perry’s office which announced it could be bothered to show up for a joke of a so-called press conference, I nearly caused a pile-up on RWNN last summer when I recognized the intersection as we entered it and idiotically froze, because I was seeing the ghost that no one else on that ride saw.

I see these ghosts because if I forget then I’ve left a rider behind and I can’t leave a rider behind.

Bike rider killed in San Bernardino collision; sixth SoCal cycling fatality in last two weeks

At this point, I have to assume you’re as sick of reading about people killed while riding their bikes as I am of writing about it.

Yet the tragedies keep piling up in this bloody new year, as yet another cyclist lost his life last night, this time in San Bernardino.

According to the Press Enterprise, the victim was riding with his girlfriend on their way to a friend’s house around 6 pm last night when they attempted to cross East Orange Show Road at Lena Road. They saw an eastbound car approaching, but thought they had enough time to cross get across safely.

However, the car, a 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo, began to swerve to the right as it got closer, leaving them unsure which way they should go to get out of the way. In the resulting confusion, the car hit the male rider, throwing him onto the hood and passenger-side windshield.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The San Bernardino County Coroner identifies the victim as 39-year old Emmitt Palmer of San Bernardino. Though oddly, it says he was a pedestrian rather than riding bike; however, all the other details, including time and location, match up, except for identifying the car as a 2001 Impala.

The San Bernardino Sun reports the driver, 58-year old Esther Guardado, was taken to a local hospital for wrist pain.

This is the 6th bicycling fatality in Southern California so far this year — an average of nearly one every two days. And it is the first in San Bernardino County since the first of the year; there were 11 bicycling deaths in the county last year.

My deepest sympathy for Emmitt Palmer and all his loved ones. 

Yet another driver kills a cyclist and flees the scene; 3rd fatal Ontario bike hit-and-run since July

News is just breaking that yet another bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver, this time in Ontario.

According to the Daily Bulletin, the victim was riding on Euclid Avenue at Budd Street shortly after 2 pm Sunday when he struck by a Ford pickup traveling north on Euclid. No word on which direction the victim, who has not been identified pending notification of next of kin, was traveling or how the collision occurred.

He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Meanwhile, the driver fled the scene, but was captured shortly later thanks to information provided by witnesses. Police arrested 29-year old Ontario resident James Manuel Avalos; no word yet on any possible charges.

This is the 78th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Bernardino County. That compares to 74 SoCal deaths, and 10 in the San Bernardino County, for all of last year. It is also the third bicycling fatality in the City of Ontario since July — all hit-and-runs.

Clearly, something is seriously wrong there.

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

Correction: I initially left off the last name of the suspect; he should have been identified as James Manuel Avalos, as I’ve now changed it above. Thanks to Allyson Vought for the catch.

Update: Cyclist found dead on side of the road in San Bernardino County, apparent victim of hit-and-run

If this doesn’t piss you off, maybe it should.

According to the Lucerne Valley Leader, an unidentified man was found dead on the side of the road in eastern San Bernardino County this morning, the victim of an apparent hit-and-run.

The victim was discovered with his bike on the south side of Highway 18 just east of Post Office Road in Lucerne Valley around 8 am; paramedics declared him dead at the scene after arriving about 10 minutes later.

According to the CHP officer investigating the death, it appeared his mountain bike was hit from behind as he rode along the white line on the right side of the highway. His bike showed damage to the rear end, and there was evidence that the driver veered off the road after striking him, then continued without stopping.

The collision most likely occurred sometime during the night, which means the victim could have been lying there for several hours before he was discovered — which could have been the difference between life and dead.

All because some heartless son of a bitch didn’t have the basic human decency to at least stop and call for help before running away like the coward he — or she — is.

As far as I’m concerned, once the driver is found, he or she should face a murder charge on the assumption that the victim might have lived if they hadn’t made a conscious decision to let him die.

This is the 77th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in San Bernardino County. That compares with 10 in the county for all of last year, and six in 2011.

Update: The Victorville Daily Press identifies the victim as 47-year old Angelo “Andy” Douglas Azzato of Lucerne Valley.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Azzato and all his loved ones.

Update 2: According to the Victorville Daily Press, the CHP reports Azzato was hit by a truck between 5 pm and 10 pm on November 6th, which means his body was on the side of the road for 10 to 15 hours before he was discovered. Authorities are looking for a silver 1999 or 2000 Dodge Ram pickup with damage to the right front bumper and/or headlight assembly. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the CHP Victorville office at 760-241-1186.

 

Bike rider killed in San Bernardino; San Diego cyclist critically injured, as is racing legend Dale Stetina

They say bad things come in three.

That seems to be the case this holiday weekend, with fatal and near fatal collisions here in Southern California, and a cycling legend clinging to life in Colorado.

……….

According to the San Bernardino Sun, 27-year old San Bernardino resident Russell Alvin Burrows was riding south on the 18700 block of Cajon Boulevard around 8:10 pm Saturday when he was apparently hit from behind by a 2007 Toyota Corolla traveling in the same direction. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the Toyota has not been publicly identified.

A satellite view shows a four lane roadway, dropping to two lanes, with little or no shoulder, suggesting Burrows was most likely riding in the traffic lane.

Depending on exactly where the collision occurred, it’s also possible that he was right-hooked, as there are a number of driveways and a freeway on- and off-ramp in the area.

No other details are available at this time, and no word on whether he was using lights or reflectors, as it would have been nearing full dark at the time of impact.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the ninth in San Bernardino County. That compares to 10 bike-related deaths in the county in all of 2012, and six in 2011.

……….

A 20-year old bike rider suffered life-threatening injuries in another struck-from-behind collision early Sunday morning, this time in San Diego.

The victim was riding south in a traffic lane on the 2500 block of Ingraham Street on Vacation Island in San Diego’s Mission Bay Park at 3:30 am when she was hit by a sedan. The driver reportedly swerved into the left lane when he saw her, but wasn’t able to avoid hitting her bike.

She was transported to a hospital with what a police spokesperson described as “major, life-threatening injuries.”

A street view shows the two lane roadway increasing to three lanes with no shoulders. The right lane appears to be of substandard width, suggesting that she was legally within her rights to take the lane — as well as following the advice of most bike safety advocates to avoid riding near the curb if the lane is too narrow for a bike and car to safely share.

Again, no word on whether she was using lights or reflectors as required by law.

However, police and the press are usually quick to say if a victim didn’t have lights after dark.

………..

Word broke Saturday night that an American cycling legend had suffered life-threatening injuries in a fall caused by an out-of-control driver in Boulder, Colorado’s Lefthand Canyon.

In the 1970s and early ’80s, Dale Stetina and his brother Wayne dominated American bike racing, with Wayne winning the Red Zinger/Coors Classic — then the country’s leading bike race — in 1977, and Dale winning in ’79 and ’83.

The two riders were both inducted into the US Bicycling Hall of Fame for their dominance of the sport in this country, and their role in paving the way for the first generation of American international riders that followed — riders with better known names like Andy Hampsten, Davis Phinney, Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal and the country’s only current Tour de France winner, Greg Lemond.

It was also long rumored that the two brothers were the inspiration for the cycling cult classic American Flyers.

So it was devastating news that 57-year old Dale Stetina was critically injured when a driver pulled onto the shoulder on the wrong side of the popular riding route, then swerved back to the other side just as a group of riders came around bend in the road.

All of the cyclists were able to avoid colliding with the car; however, Stetina reportedly went over his handlebars, landing face first on the pavement.

Despite wearing a helmet, he suffered major face and eye injuries, as well as loss of responsiveness; a CAT Scan revealed additional injuries to his brain stem. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, he remains in a medically induced coma in critical condition.

He is also the father of rising Garmin-Sharp rider Peter Stetina.

And he’s long been a personal hero and inspiration to me, dating back to when I first started riding seriously in the 1980s.

……….

My prayers and deepest sympathy for Russell Alvin Burrows and all his family and loved ones.

And I hope you’ll join me in offering prayers and best wishes for Dale Stetina and the publicly unidentified victim in San Diego; may they both recover quickly and completely. 

Update: Two bike riders killed in San Bernardino County hit-and-runs; both victims found dead on roadway

I could just scream.

Not only does the body count of bike riding hit-and-run victims continue to rise, but details on the twin San Bernardino County deaths seem to be treated like state secrets.

In what may be the single worst news item I’ve ever seen, the Press-Enterprise reports that a 55-year old bike rider, who has not been publicly identified, died somewhere in Ontario sometime on Thursday morning.

Ontario police responding to a report of a man in the street found the victim lying dead next to a bicycle, and determined he’d been hit by some sort of vehicle.

No word on where in the city of over 160,000 this might have occurred. Nor is there any suggestion of when this might have happened between the hours of midnight and noon, or any information on the victim aside from his age.

Or any other details whatsoever that might allow us to make any sense of the story.

All we know is another bike rider is dead, and another heartless coward ran away after taking the life of a fellow human being.

No word yet about the death on the San Bernardino County Coroner’s website, either; hopefully they’ll provide more information later today.

Update: The coroner’s office has identified the victim as 55-year old Ontario resident Antonio Soriano, and says he was killed on the 700 block of west State Street in Ontario; the call came in to 911 at 5:25 am.

……..

Unfortunately, searching for news of the above death on the county coroner’s website revealed yet another fatal hit-and-run in San Bernardino County.

According to a brief press release from the coroner’s office, a 911 call reported a collision between a vehicle and a bike rider in Phelan — southwest of Hesperia and Victorville — at 11:41 last night. The San Bernardino Sun offers a typically cryptic report that merely retypes the coroner’s release.

When CHP officers and San Bernardino fire fighters arrived at the intersection of Highway 138 and Gramercy Road, they found 29-year old Max Deanwallace Abraham of Wrightwood lying alone in or near the roadway; he was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on whether he was riding on 138 or trying to cross the dangerous highway, which has earned the nickname Blood Alley.

Again, hopefully we’ll get more information later. But I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Update: Maybe it wasn’t hit-and-run after all. 

According to the Victor Valley Daily Press, Abraham was riding his bike east on Highway 138 when he was struck from behind by a Chevy Tahoe pickup traveling at 60 mph.

A CHP spokesman says he was riding within the right hand lane, even though there appears to be an adequate shoulder in the area. The paper notes Abraham’s bike and body were found four feet inside the lane.

However, the landing point of the victim’s body is a highly unreliable indicator of where the rider was positioned prior to the collision, especially when hit at high speed. It’s entirely possible that the driver drifted off the side of the road to strike his bike, and he was thrown back into the roadway by the force of the impact.

The paper also notes he was not using lights or reflectors despite the late hour, and was not wearing a helmet. If the Daily Press can point out any bike helmet capable of protecting against a 60 mph impact, then, and only then, will that last part be relevant. 

No word on why this was originally reported as a hit-and-run.

The CHP spokesperson identified Abraham as a resident of Sunland, rather than Wrightwood; no explanation for the discrepancy.  Anyone with information is urged to contact the CHP at 760-241-1186, or call anonymously at 800-835-5247.

………

These are the 52nd and 53rd bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, and the eighth in San Bernardino County; that compares to seven in the county this time last year.

Nearly 25% of those deaths — 13 out of 53 — have been the result of hit-and-runs.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for both victims and their loved ones.

62-year old bike rider killed in Fontana collision

Once again, a bike rider has been killed in San Bernardino County.

And once again, we have virtually no information on the tragedy.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 62-year old Hershel Trueblood of Fontana was killed when he “rode his bike into traffic,” whatever that means.

The San Bernardino County Coroner reports he was riding on Sierra Avenue at Fontana Circle — an address that doesn’t seem to exist — at 8:18 am Monday when he rode in front of a vehicle, and was hit by a car headed south on Sierra; he died at Arrowhead Medical Center at 1:51 pm.

No word from any source on which direction Trueblood was riding.

From the limited description, it sounds like he may have swerved into the traffic lane, for whatever reason, and been hit from behind in a classic SWSS — single witness suicide swerve. If there were no witnesses other than the driver who hit him who can verify that he rode into traffic, it’s just as possible that he may have been riding straight and hit from behind by an inattentive driver.

As the Urban Country points out, there are incentives for drivers, police and society at large to blame the victim for his own death when he is unable to defend himself.

Then again, for all we know, he could have been riding against traffic, or either he or the driver may have somehow strayed onto the wrong side of the road, resulting in head-on collision. Or he could have been riding on the sidewalk and come out into the street.

Unless someone bothers to do a follow-upthat goes beyond retyping the coroner’s cryptic report — which too often, doesn’t happen in the Inland Empire — we may never know.

This is the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth in San Bernardino County. Trueblood is the third rider killed in Fontana in the last three years, and the second in the last two months; the others died in collisions with trains.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Hershel Trueblood and his family and friends.

Update: 17-year old Ontario rider dies of injuries suffered in Sunday hit-and-run

Somehow, a good outcome didn’t seem likely this time.

While we should always hope for the best when a bike riders is seriously injured, it’s never a good sign when authorities use the term “life-threatening” to describe a rider’s injuries.

According to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s office, 17-year old Horacio Pineda died of his injuries at 8:20 Sunday night, after being found unresponsive in the street at 12:36 am.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin identifies the location where he was found as Riverside Drive east of Walker Ave. There was no other vehicle present; however, police believe a motorist traveling east on Riverside hit his bike before fleeing the scene.

Authorities are looking for a dark colored car of undermined make and model with likely front-end damage.

Ontario police believe the collision occurred sometime between 11:30 pm Saturday and 12:30 am Sunday. Which means Pineda could have bled in the street for more than a hour before help arrived; whether or not his life could have been saved if the coward who hit him had stopped may never be known.

As far as I’m concerned, any driver who leaves a hit-and-run victim to die in the street should be charged with murder, since he or she made a conscious decision to let them die rather than stop or call for help.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at (909) 986-67811 or Detective Steve Hurst at (909) 395-2902.

This is the 47th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in San Bernardino County, which matches the county’s total for this time last year. And it is the 10th fatal hit-and-run in the seven-county SoCal region since the first of the year.

My prayers and sympathy go out to Horacio Pineda and all his loved ones. 

Thanks to JL for the news.

Update: Ontario police are looking for a suspect, but have little to go on. Anyone with information is urged to call the Ontario Police Department at 909-986-6711, or Officer Marshall Martinez at 909-395-2001 ext. 4679.

Update 2: KABC-7 offers a nice look at who Pineda was, and just how much the coward who killed him has stolen from his friends and family, and all of us. 

21-year old Ontario cyclist killed Sunday night

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports that 21-year old Ontario resident Pascual Antonio Garcia was killed last night while riding in Ontario.

According to the paper, Garcia was riding on Mountain Avenue south of Flora Street when he was struck by a southbound car at 8:38 pm. He was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

The driver reportedly stopped and called for help.

Once again, there is no information on how the collision occurred, whether the victim was using lights or riding in an unsafe manner, or whether the driver was intoxicated, distracted or otherwise careless.

You’d think the life of a human being would be worth more than three paragraphs and four short sentences.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, which equals the total for last year. It’s also the ninth in San Bernardino County, a 50% increase over the six cycling deaths in the county in 2011.

My deepest sympathy for Garcia and all his loved ones.

A poignant and angry remembrance of a fallen cyclist, and a tale of justice denied

Yesterday, I received the following email from a reader named Kate.

In it, she describes a death of a dear friend in a San Bernardino County cycling collision two years ago today, and the apparent lack of justice that followed. Which may sound familiar if you’ve followed the case of pro cyclist Jorge Alvarado and the two drivers charged with his death.

She hadn’t intended to make it public; she just wanted to vent her frustration and anger.

But I thought she had something important to say. So I asked for her permission to share it with you, which she graciously granted.

I am writing to you because Sunday, November 4th is the 2 year anniversary of the death of a dear family friend, Lynn Pletcher.  He was killed in Cherry Valley while riding in a bike lane with two other buddies.  Lynn was 70. He was fit (he had completed a 400-ish mile ride across Oregon for his 70th birthday a month prior). He was experienced and extremely safety conscious. He was a husband, father of two, grandfather of 2 (now 3).  Lynn was a retired educator who was very active in the local Rotary Club.  He was also my parents’ next door neighbor for almost 20 years, and my father’s closest friend. http://www.swrnn.com/2010/11/06/bicyclist-killed-in-beaumont-identified/

I know this is not current cycling news, but I guess I just want to vent my frustration about how this was handled. I know you don’t print names or details that aren’t already known, and I’m not looking for that.  I just want to vent.

The man who killed Lynn was never named publicly.  The man who killed Lynn was never charged with anything.  It took the cops more than a year to complete their accident report, and then it was determined that the accident was Lynn’s fault, and that the skid marks showed that he was out of the bike lane when he was hit.  The two men (one a retired postal worker and one a retired physician) who were riding with Lynn didn’t see the accident, as Lynn was last in the pace line.  Lynn was hit from behind, so regardless if he was in the lane or out of it, he was still rear-ended. The bike lane in that particular spot is 6 feet wide, wide enough to ride two abreast if you wanted to, and still be well within the lane. Rumor had it that the guy who hit Lynn was somehow connected to law enforcement, and even that he may have known the cop who came to the accident scene. He had a cell phone in his hand when he got out of the car. I heard this from Lynn’s family, but you can see that there are others out there who heard the same info. http://www.myvalleynews.com/story/52256/ .

The guy who killed Lynn got away with everything. He was never named publicly, never reported in the paper or online, he was never charged.  He never had to face Lynn’s family.  He declared bancruptcy to avoid any kind of law suit. He kept his house. The only thing he has to do is make a monetary contribution to the scholarship fund set up in Lynn’s name.  He writes the check to Lynn’s wife each month.  So far he has made 10 payments, as it took that long to get the final police report, and determine what the penality (if any) would be.  At least he has to think about Lynn every month.  Lynn’s sons are both attorneys, and after having other attorneys look over the case, they were told that based on the evidence, Lynn was most definitely not at fault, but that fighting the system would be expensive, lengthy, and likely a losing battle, so his sons and his wife opted to have the donation made to the scholarship fund each month. They are tired and sad, and don’t want to pursue anything else, which I understand and respect. Lynn’s family has been through so much in the last 2 years, they are glad the checks have been coming regularly so far, but wonder how long it will last.

Sunday will come and go, we wil leave flowers at Lynn’s ghost bike and on his grave, then we will go to lunch with his widow and one of his sons.  His killer might watch football, maybe he’ll work an extra shift and get paid overtime, maybe he’ll spend the day with his family.  Lynn no longer has that option.  I am disgusted at the how this was handled.  I am angry at the lack of accountability.  I am outraged at the blue wall protecting their own.

I will continue to read your blog faithfully, although, I have to say, some days I just want to put my bike in the garage and forget about it. Nope. I won’t let the morons of the world dictate what I do, and I will continue to do my small part to spread awareness when I can.

Thanks for listening,

Kate

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