In the deepening gloom of an early December evening, a lone bicyclist waited amid the bustle of rush hour traffic to cross busy Laurel Canyon Blvd. in North Hollywood.
He used the crosswalk, whether for convenience or the greater safety he thought it would offer.
Traffic approaching in the right lane paused, allowing him to set out across the street. But a driver in a dark colored Jeep Cherokee speeding in the left lane blew past the stopped cars and plowed into the cyclist, then sped off, leaving 40-year old Robert Painter, a Canadian citizen who made his home in North Hollywood, laying broken and bloody in the street.
Despite the best efforts of paramedics and medical workers, he died in a local hospital after clinging to life for another 10 days.
Outraged by the callousness of the incident, a police detective reached out for the public’s help in solving the crime. Yet nearly four months later, no one has been arrested, no suspect is being sought, and any leads have long ago dried up.
According to sources at the LAPD, the case has been thoroughly investigated without suspect being identified.
The police have examined security video from a nearby gas station without success; even if it had captured the fleeing SUV, limited camera angles and poor lighting conditions would have prevented officers from being able to make out the license plate. And despite extensive press coverage, no significant leads were produced.
As a result, the case is currently classified as Investigation Continued; the detective in charge promises to pursue any leads as they come in.
And he’s not the only one.
On the morning of February 15th, Ovidio Morales attempted to ride his bike across Compton Blvd in Compton.
As he did, the driver of a minivan reportedly blew through the red light while talking on his cell phone, striking the 34-year old father of five and dragging him beneath his car, in a crime captured by a nearby security camera.
The driver is then shown stopping and walking back to look at Morales laying in the street, then getting back in what witnesses described as a silver or gray 1990’s Ford van, possibly an Aerostar, and driving away.
Again, the video footage failed to identify a suspect; the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is offering a $10,000 reward for any information that leads to the apprehension and/or conviction of the person responsible.
But the best way we can honor them is to keep our eyes and ears open, and do whatever we can to bring their killers to justice.
Meanwhile, DJ Wheels forwards news that Patricia Ann Izquieta has pleaded not guilty in the hit-and-run death of Donald Murphy in Newport Beach last December.
According to prosecutors, Izquieta was on Methadone and Clonazapam when she struck Murphy from behind, dragging his bike under her car for over a mile before stopping; amazingly, Murphy’s family issued a statement shortly after his death forgiving her.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 26th.
If you have any information about the Painter case, contact Valley Traffic Division Detective Doug Larkin or Detective William Bustos at 818/644-8036 or 818/644-8020, respectively. Or you can call 1-877/LAPD-24-7 (1-877/527-3247) toll free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Anyone with information about the Morales case is urge to call Detective Michael Lennig at the Compton Sherriff’s Station, 310/605-6500 or 310/605-3516 and refer to Report No. 010-02521-2832-251.
James Williamson, elite mountain biker and former solo 24-hour champion, died in his sleep while in South Africa yesterday. The 26-year old cyclist could not roused by his teammate the morning after completing the second stage of the Absa Cape Epic endurance cross-country race. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead; cause of death is undetermined pending an autopsy.
The recently formed South Bay Bicycle Coalition is selected to create a bike plan for the seven-city South Bay region, with support from the LACBC. A near-90 degree wallride in Echo Park. The 5th annual Feel My Legs, I’m a Racer rolls this Sunday, with a killer loop around — or through — Mt. Washington, Silver Lake and Dodger Stadium. Evidently, I’m the new poster child for blocked bike lanes. Maybe what we need is a bike excise tax; I’m in if all the funds go toward bicycling (yeah, that’ll happen). It’s spring, when anti-veloism rears it’s ugly head. Crowdsourcing bike jerseys in Chicago. With a few more bike shops, Nashville could be just like Portland. Boise State hosts a Bicycle Congress focusing on a women’s perspective on bike commuting. A Baltimore rider says we need enforcement, not a three-foot law; I’ll take both, thank you. Carbon fiber — light, strong, sexy and keeping bike lawyers employed. The war on the car goes on, with a few small victories from the Resistance. A New Zealand writer ask why so many people hate Lycra these days. A former Aussie media mogul gives up cycling after undergoing emergency brain surgery following a bike accident. Cycling in non-London Britain declined over the last four years — except for a 27% increase in six demonstration cities. A new Brit bike lane is great, except that it’s not possible to ride in it. Cycling from the UK to the World Cup in South Africa with a big, fat mosquito-bit lip. Da Vinci’s rough-riding bike goes on display in Manchester.
Finally, keep carried objects away from your wheels, or you too could end up shocked and dazzled.