Collision scene suggests Ornelas was riding in the street, not on sidewalk; photo by Danny Gamboa.
More bad news.
Last night we mentioned that a 70-year old Whittier bike rider suffered severe injuries in a collision yesterday afternoon, noting that early reports said the victim’s injuries weren’t considered life-threatening.
Sadly, that wasn’t the case. Word came today that he died of his injuries.
According to the Whittier Daily News, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was riding on Lambert Road just south of in Washington Blvd around 1:30 pm when he was struck by a Toyota Ridgeline and dragged several yards.
The paper reports he was was riding to work with a co-worker when he was struck. They were riding against traffic, though it’s not clear if they were riding in the street or on the sidewalk at the time of the collision.
The driver, identified only as a man in his 60s, was leaving the Home Depot parking lot and making a right turn onto Lambert when the collision occurred. He claimed to be unaware that he had struck anyone, driving several yards before stopping when he heard a grinding noise coming from under the truck.
As others have pointed out, it’s possible that he was looking left as he turned right, and may not have seen the bike riders coming from the other direction.
He was alert and stable when taken to the hospital; what happened afterwards that led to his death is unknown at this time.
Hopefully, the Daily News will update their story with more information.
I’m told a ghost bike will be installed at the site of the collision at 9 pm tonight.
This is the 21st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth already this year in Los Angeles County. It’s also third cyclist killed in Whittier since 2012.
Update: The Daily News confirms that the victim, identified as 70-year old Whittier resident Arturo Alfredo Ornelas, died at County USC Medical Center less than an hour after the collision.
Update 2: After examining the scene, Danny Gamboa reports Ornelas was dragged approximately 150 feet — half the length of a football field.
Update 3: This morning I received the following comment from a witness to the collision.
Having a first hand account as an eyewitness to this tragedy. One thing that wasn’t included is that the driver rolled the stop. Working next door, I see drivers run that stop all the time. If the driver had come to a complete stop – he would have seen the cyclist riding on the sidewalk. Some of the simple rules of looking both ways when making a turn were not followed. It is easy to blame the cyclist when it’s convenient.
Meanwhile, Danny Gamboa forwards this comment from another witness.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Arturo Ornelas and his loved ones.
Groove carved in pavement by dragging bike under truck; photo by Danny Gamboa.
Ghost bike for Arturo Alfredo Ornelas; photo by Danny Gamboa.
On another note, my deepest sympathy to the LAPD on the loss of an officer in a traffic collision today, and my prayers for him and his loved ones.