15-year old bike rider killed in Fountain Valley, just days before his birthday

Ghost bike for Sean Severson; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Ghost bike for Sean Severson; photo by Danny Gamboa.

Every death on our streets is needless tragedy. Every fallen rider a heartbreaking loss.

But some tug a little harder at the heartstrings.

Like when a young boy with a lifetime of possibilities is taken from us before he can even grow up or become who he was destined to be.

On Thursday, 15-year old Sean Severson was hit and killed while riding his bike in Fountain Valley at 7:47 am, most likely while on his way to school.

According to a press release from the Fountain Valley Police Department, Severson was riding along the west curb line of Bushard Street north of Rose Avenue when he rode out into the traffic lane and was hit by a Volvo Sedan.

The report doesn’t say why he went out into the traffic lane, or wether he was riding with or against traffic, rear-ended or hit head on.

He was transported to a local hospital in critical condition; according to the Orange County Coroner’s office, he died at 11:50 am this morning, just four days short of his 16th birthday.

The driver remained at the scene, and there was no suspicion of drug or alcohol use. Anyone with information is urged to call the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714-593-4484.

This is the 26th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County.

I’m told a ghost bike will be installed for Sean on Saturday morning.

This one will devastate a lot of people, including his schoolmates, as well as those of us who never knew him.

And now never will.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sean Severson and all his family and loved ones. 

Update: I’m told by Danny Gamboa that there are no brake marks on the street anywhere near where the collision occurred, indicating that the driver made no attempt to stop. Which suggests that Severson either made a last-second swerve to the left that the driver was unable to avoid, or that the driver never saw him.

Unfortunately, Sean isn’t around to tell his version of events.


  1. How many people besides the driver of the weapon vehicle saw him “swerve” into the lane?

  2. Kathy Severson says:

    Thank you so much for writing this article, my family and I appreciate it very much. Your kind words and thoughts will help us through this hard time.

  3. bob smith says:

    Sean Severson is still fighting for his life, so don’t count him as a fatality yet!!

  4. Jonathan Severson says:

    Thank you for your words. It helps to hear someone who doesn’t just jump to conclusions and say it was Sean’s fault for riding into the street like that. When he first wanted to start biking to school, the weekend he got his first bike I showed him the route I always took toe get to schools when I was at Fountain Valley. These are tough times we have come upon, but it’s people like you who will make it a little bit easier for us to make it through.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thank you for the kind words, Jonathan. I can’t tell you how saddened I and many others are over your loss. You and your family are in my prayers.

      If there is something we can do to help, please let me know.

    • Danielle Mathis says:

      Jon, my mom is Dr G and would like to talk to u since it’s spring break and she’ll have no contact with u for a week. Our family is deeply saddened by this tragic news!! My kids also go to FV my daughter knew him, not close but she did. I can not even begin to fathom the pain and sorrow your family is feeling. But please contact Dr G. It was really sad the moment we put 2n2 together and figured out who had left this world so tragically and who he had left behind. Thoughts go out to u n your fam!! Especially your parents!

      • Jonathan Severson says:

        This is nothing short of amazing. I contacted Dr. G the day of and didn’t think I’d be talking to her until the break was over by here there are the connections that we never knew existed. I will be emailing Dr G as soon as I’m done writing this reply. Thank you for letting me know, and thank you for the kind words.

  5. Kay says:

    This is just heartbreaking. I’m glad the driver did the right thing and stopped. I’m so deeply sorry for the pain his parents, siblings, family and friends of this young, precious boy. Know that your community is grieving with you.

  6. m says:

    i just dont understand how it happened.. the driver didnt JUST turn into the bushard from heil…or the neighborhood before rose…he had to have been driving straight for at least 100 ft… even if sean was slightly out of the bicycle lane…the driver should’ve seen him.

    i’m just so confused….i live in a college town and bicyclists are extremely reckless and even then drivers seem to avoid them… it doesnt make sense.

    • m says:

      i try my best to believe everything happens for a reason…but i fail to find reasoning in this.

      it angers me and saddens me that we lost such a beautiful soul..

  7. Its very sad to see such a young soul depart too early. I don’t know why he was driving in the traffic lane. I mean what could be the reason behind such act? That matter should be looked into.

    • Jonathan Severson says:

      The matter was investigated and it was shown that the driver was on the phone whereas Sean was partially in the traffic lane avoiding debris in the bike lane. Because she was on the phone there was no time for her to react once she realized the situation

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