Memorial for Valley hit-and-run victim Victor Awad; more information on the death of Udo Heinz

My service with the Superior Court of L.A. County is now complete.

As it turned out, I wasn’t asked to sit in judgement of my fellow man. Or woman, for that matter. And unlike my previous round of service, there were no particular insights gained.

Just sitting around waiting in vain for someone to choose me.

In other words, pretty much like sitting around waiting to get picked for a team in grade school.

With pretty much the same result.


A couple quick notes before I head off to bed to make up for somehow managing to stay awake in the courtroom.

And no, it wasn’t easy.

First up, a memorial service will be held today for Victor Awad, who was killed in a hit-and-run a little over a week ago at Plummer Street and Winnetka along the Northridge/Chatsworth border.

Funeral services for Victor Awad will be held at 10:00am on Thursday, August 15th at the following location:

St Mary & St Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church
17431 Roscoe Boulevard, Northridge, CA 91325-3903

According to the print business he ran, the collision is still under investigation, though an arrest has been made. His father will be taking over day-to-day operation of the business.

Thanks to ValleyBall1 for the heads-up.


Second, more details are finally in regarding the collision that killed Udo Heinz on Camp Pendleton on Sunday, August 4th.

Heinz was riding with two other cyclists when they were run down by a North County Transit District Bus. He died at the scene; his riding companions were both injured, one critically.

Now the attorney for John Edwards, the rider who was critically injured, has posted details of the suit he intends to file against the transit district, with the permission of his client.

And it ain’t pretty.

According to the pretrial disclosure, Edwards suffered a fractured right ankle, lacerations to his left ankle, multiple broken ribs, a fractured and lacerated nose, lacerations to his face, and trauma to his heart and other internal organs. He spent five days in the hospital, four them in Intensive Care.

The other rider, though injured himself, did his best to aid and comfort both of his companions in Heinz’ last moments.

Needless to say their bikes were destroyed, as well.

The scary part is, still photos from the onboard bus camera clearly show the driver did not swerve to avoid the three riders, as had been reported, despite doing so to avoid another group of riders moments earlier.

Instead, he drove directly into them from behind, and may have even drifted slightly to the right before hitting them. The pretrial disclosure contends the first moment he seemed to be aware of their presence was when he felt the impact and his passengers screamed as he plowed into them.

I warn you, though, the photos are haunting.

Blurry though they may be, I’ve been troubled ever since viewing them earlier today.

It’s hard to shake the image of three people just seconds before one has his life violently ripped away, and another’s shattered, as seen from the vehicle that did it. They all seem unaware of what is about to happen, failing to react to the bus that’s just seconds from hitting them.

I suspect that image may stick with me for a long time.

Thanks to MarkG for the link.

Update: A memorial will be held for Udo Heinz today as well; thanks to Matt Ruscigno for the information. 

Celebration of Life event for Udo:
Powerhouse Park, Del Mar
Thursday, August 15th, 5pm to sunset
-Beach casual attire please
-Food and beverages served
-Bring blankets and chairs (picnic style)


  1. Admin says:

    This is grim beyond belief. I am continually passed by buses for the PV Peninsula Transit Authority, the local buy system that ferries domestic workers to the homes of the wealthy here in PV. When the buses pass me in Portuguese Bend, and I’ve been passed hundreds of times, they often do so at high speeds and as closely as possible, even though that stretch of road, particularly after the Portuguese Bend Beach Club, has almost nowhere for the bike to ride, it’s so narrow. The bus drivers appear to hate the cyclists even more than most motorists; a couple of times I’ve been passed with only inches to spare. So sorry for Udo, his friends, and family.

    • Jim Lyle says:

      Admin, please change your handle when posting to this blog; you are not the “administrator.” If you wish to remain anonymous, try PBBiker or something like that.

      Yes, I agree, PVTA buses are annoying. Have you contacted the bus company? A couple of years ago, a college-to-remain-nameless-located-at-PVE-and-Crest bus driver was buzzing cyclists. It only took one phone call to the college from me to put a stop to that practice. The bus company can ill afford to risk liability after being told of the problem. Document your interactions with the bus company and tell them you are doing so.

      • Admin says:

        I’m not the administrator? Who is?

        Good advice about calling the PVPTA about the dangerous driving. One of the problems with cyclists is that we have so many close calls, when we survive we just block it out and have an “on to the next one” mentality. But you’re entirely right, calling, ID’ing the offending bus, and complaining can do a world of good.

        Thanks, Jim.

  2. Too bad Hamouda’s HR file was redacted from the claims document, but I guess it points out the importance of calling in complaints about individual drivers in case somebody needs to sue the transit agency for inaction somewhere down the road.

    Are criminal charges against Hamouda pending yet?

    • bikinginla says:

      The investigation is being conducted by the NCIS — yes, the same group as in the TV shows — which means no word is likely to leak out until they’re done. And they’re not likely to be in any rush to conclude the investigation, but it should be thorough.

      So we’ll just have to be patient on this one.

  3. ranchoman says:

    The Heinz Memorial Fund is now open for donations. Thank you dearly to all of you who have been a support to Udo’s wife and kids during this whirlwind and tragic loss of Udo. Last night at Udo’s memorial service the love, tears, prayers, joy celebrating who he was, support and spirit was felt among everyone. It was amazing to see the village of people who are part of their lives and a blessing to all.

    If you would like to donate you can mail a check, wire it to the bank or stop by any San Diego County Credit Union. See below for the Account number.

    Udo C Heinz Memorial
    SDCCU (San Diego County Credit Union)
    Acct# 490583600
    Send or bring in a check to any branch or wire it to the bank

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