Tag Archive for Whittier

Update: 70-year old Whittier bike rider succumbs to his injuries

Collision scene suggests Ornelas was riding in the street, not on sidewalk; photo by Danny Gamboa.

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.

Groove carved in pavement by dragging bike under truck; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike for Arturo Alfredo Ornelas; 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.

Update: Whittier cyclist killed when 78-year old driver backs over her in parking lot

“She looked real happy this morning.”

That’s how her stepmother described 26-year old Rosie Manzanares on the last day of her life. Just a few hours later, she lay dead in a parking lot, victim of a 78-year old driver who lost control of her car after visiting the hairdresser.

The collision occurred around 1:30 pm in the parking lot behind Celebrity Burgers, 11270 Whittier Blvd in Whittier.

According to the L.A. Times, the Toyota driven by Angelica Cuevas accelerated unexpectedly as she was backing out of her parking space, hitting Manzanares before coming to a stop on top of her.

No explanation is given for why the car accelerated; maybe the car malfunctioned, or maybe Cuevas panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake after seeing Manzanares behind her.

Either way, an innocent woman is dead. And an older woman has to spend the last years of her life knowing she took another.

It’s likely to be a very long time before either family — the driver’s or the victim’s — will have another happy morning.

This is the 11th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second in Los Angeles County — both of which occurred in Whittier.

My heart and prayers go out to Rosie, and her family and loved ones.

Update: According to the Whittier Daily News, Cuevas had stopped her car halfway out of the parking space, then inexplicably accelerated as Manzanares rode behind her; Manzanares was pronounced dead at the scene.

Relatives say she had borrowed a bike in order to return a bracelet. Her father said she was getting help for a bipolar condition, and was in the process of straightening her life out.

Now she’ll never have the chance.

40-year old cyclist killed in Whittier; 14-year old Garden Grove cyclist dies as final fatality of 2011

Just 13 days into the new year, 3 cyclists have already been killed on Southern California streets.

According to the Whittier Daily News, two cyclists were crossing Whittier Blvd in Whitter, headed north on Rockne Ave around 10:40 am, as a car approached from the east; only one rider made it across the street.

Forty-year old Joseph Parra was struck by the Dodge Magnum and died at the scene. Police note that the driver remained at the site, and no criminal behavior was suspected.

A photo on the Daily News site shows minor damage to the left front of the car, with a smashed windshield on the driver’s side.

Google Street View reveals the riders had a stop sign, while the driver had an uncontrolled intersection, suggesting that the riders may have gone through the stop. However, it is also possible that the driver may have been speeding, or the cyclists’ view of the oncoming car could have been obstructed in some way.

This is the first cycling fatality in Los Angeles County this year, along with one each in Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

Thanks to Rex Reese for the heads-up.

……..

A search for information about this collision also uncovered one final fatality for 2011.

According to a release from the Orange County Coroner’s office, 14-year old Albert Nguyen of Garden Grove was hit by a car while riding his bike at the intersection of Gilbert Street and Chapman Avenue in Garden Grove around 4:45 pm on Thursday, December 29th. He died at 6:30 pm on New Years Day at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

Reports indicate he was killed in a right hook after riding his bike off the sidewalk into the path of a turning car.

That makes Nguyen the 71st — and hopefully last — traffic-related bike fatality in Southern California in 2011, and the 13th in Orange County.

Whittier cyclists under attack; female rider severely beaten in most recent assault

A 19-year old woman was severely beaten after being knocked off her bike on a Whittier bike path.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the attack took place on Wednesday around 10:30 pm on the Greenway Trail, a Class 1 off-road bike path between Painter and Greenleaf Avenues when three or four men in dark clothing pushed her off her bike. Her attackers then punched her repeatedly in the face and body, and may have kicked her, as well.

Authorities report she suffered injuries to her face, teeth, hands and elbows, as well as losing consciousness for a period of time; she was reportedly awake when police and firefighters arrived on the scene, and was transported to a local hospital.

The suspects fled when other people approached. Police say she was not robbed and the motive for the attack is unknown.

However, KTLA reports that there have been at least three other attacks in the same pathway in the past month. In one case, a man was able to fight off an attacker who tried to steal his bike, while a 16-year old boy was arrested for allegedly grabbing another man and demanding his money; no information was available on the other attack.

These cases are reminiscent of the reports of attacks on cyclists riding along the Ballona Creek bike path a few years back, and point out the inherent problem with off-road bikeways.

While they can offer a pleasant respite from the headaches and risks of riding busy streets, they are often largely isolated and hidden from public view, providing secluded areas where criminal activity may occur.

And most are rarely, if ever, patrolled by police.

In fact, when cyclists tried to report the Ballona Creek attacks, 911 operators and police officers reportedly had difficulty even identifying where the bike path was and who had jurisdiction in order to respond.

Fortunately, the Ballona attacks proved to be the rare exception, rather than the rule on that pathway, though the reports circulated widely enough that many cyclists still express reservations about riding there.

Hopefully, this latest, unidentified victim will recover from her injuries — both physical and emotional — and get back on her bike soon.

And greater enforcement will improve safety for everyone on Whittier’s Greenway Trail.

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