Breaking news: arrest made in Mel’s Drive-In beating case; two cycling victims identified

Just a quick note, as my other job — the one that actually results in income on all too rare occasions — is keeping me tied up tonight.

However, I don’t want the day to pass without a quick update on a few cases we’ve discussed here recently.

First up, I’ve received confirmation that the driver who severely beat a cyclist in front of Mel’s Drive-In in Sherman Oaks last month has been identified, and an arrest has been made.

According to LAPD bike liaison Sgt. David Krumer, the victim was supposed to be told of the arrest today (Monday).

As you may recall, the cyclist was riding on Ventura Blvd when he was honked at, then dangerously buzzed by a pickup truck coming up from behind. When he saw the same truck at Mel’s Drive-In moments later, he stopped to confront the driver.

But instead of arguing with the rider, the driver responded by knocking him down and repeatedly kicking him in the face.

There was some concern that the driver of the Oregon-licensed truck would leave the state before an arrest could be made — particularly since the LAPD detective in charge of the case had reportedly taken no action 48 hours after the assault due to a heavy caseload.

And there was some question whether the person driving the truck — and who attacked the cyclist — was the owner of the truck.

There’s no word yet on the identity of the driver, or what charges he will face.

But the simple fact that an arrest has been made is a positive step forward.


Today also put names to the victims of two fatal bike collisions.

The cyclist killed in a solo fall yesterday has been identified as 47-year old Luis H. Esparza of La Puente. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, he was riding on the sidewalk when he collided with a raised metal mailbox and fell into the street, striking his head on the curb.

The incident took place in the Bassett area of unincorporated L.A. County.

And no, Esparza was not wearing a helmet, even though this is exactly the sort of collision bike helmets are designed to protect against.

This time, it may have cost him his life.


Finally, Philip Young forwarded word today that the cyclist killed while riding past an elementary school in Chula Vista last January was 77-year old Robert Howard Marshall. Marshall was a 20-year Navy veteran who had served in Korea and Vietnam, and left behind a wife, four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great grandchildren.

Maybe it’s just me. But it strikes me as vital to put a name to every cycling victim when we can, so we can remember them for the people they were, and not just tragic statistics.


  1. Erik Griswold says:

    A photograph would also help if you ever decided to compile a database. I think these are sometimes released by the Police based on the DMV licensing photo. Because most of these victims also drive a car, but sometimes chose not to.

  2. […] Arrests Made in Case of Cyclists Beaten at Mel’s Drive In (Biking In L.A.) […]

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