Joseph Fernandez ordered to stand trial in the hit-and-run death of Jim Swarzman

One month to the day after Encino endurance cyclist Jim Swarzman was killed by a hit-and-run driver, charges have been filed against the man accused in his death.

Forty-six-year old Carlsbad resident Joseph Ricardo Fernandez was ordered to stand trial July 11 on a single count of hit-and-run causing death. Although I wouldn’t count on that; this early in the process, trials seldom take place on the date originally scheduled.

Fernandez had his bail cut in half, from $100,000 to $50,000. As it now stands, he faces a maximum of just four years in prison if convicted.

Someone will have to explain to me why he is only charged with hit-and-run, rather than facing trial for actually killing another human being, whether through drunkenness, distraction or carelessness.

San Diego’s 10News, which has offered the most in-depth coverage to date, quotes Swarzman’s fiancée Nicole Honda testifying that she saw a flash of light before hearing what she described as an explosion.

“I saw something orange flying from behind me across to the side of the road,” said Honda.

Honda said a few seconds later she realized it was her fiancé being thrown into the air….

“I dropped my bike and started screaming and ran over to him and called 911,” said Honda. “He was struggling to breathe. I heard him trying to breathe.”

Swarzman died several hours later; Fernandez turned himself in the next day, saying he thought he might have hit something. However, every description and detail I’ve heard suggests a collision so violent it would have been impossible not to know he’d struck Swarzman.

Fernandez next court appearance is a readiness conference scheduled for June 6th.


On a brighter note, Jim Lyle reports that Richard Schlickman, critically injured last March when his bike hit new unmarked speed bumps in Palos Verdes Estates, is showing significant improvement.

The word isn’t as good for Adam Rybicki, hit head-on by an alleged underage drunk driver last month. He has been moved to a sub-acute care facility, though his condition remains unchanged.


  1. Jodi says:

    I completely agree … why not a charge of vehicular homocide or manslaughter?

  2. […] proof?  How about the several hit and run incidents in SoCal this year – we’ve got the death of Jim Swarzman , the death of a 12 year old girl in Compton,  the serious injury to Adam Rybicki, hit head-on […]

  3. […] received an unconfirmed report that Joseph Fernandez waived his right to a jury trial today in the killing of Encino cyclist Jim Swarzman, and was found guilty by the judge on a single count of hit-and-one causing death . More details as […]

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