Update: Late night bike rider killed by two hit-and-run drivers in South El Monte

Bad enough when one heartless coward flees the scene.

Worse when two drivers smash into a man riding his bike, then leave him to die in the street.

That’s what happened in South El Monte early this morning, as a 47-year old cyclist was killed in a succession of collisions on Rosemead Blvd.

According to KABC-7, Heriberto Ruiz struck from behind by an unknown vehicle near the offramp to the southbound 60 Freeway about 2:53 am. The San Gabriel Valley Tribune places the collision in the 3000 block of Rosemead, which appears to be some distance from the offramp.

That driver fled the scene, leaving Ruiz lying in the roadway where he was struck by a white minivan and possibly one other vehicle; KNBC-4 reports the minivan collided with another vehicle that was stopping at the scene. The driver of the minivan then fled, as well.

Ruiz was pronounced dead at the scene.

A satellite view shows an extended, high-speed offramp leading from the freeway; if he was trying to ride south across that, he would have been a sitting duck as motorists sped onto Rosemead.

No word on whether he was using lights at that hour; however, police are usually quick to report if a victim didn’t have lights or reflectors on his bike.

This is the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 10th in Los Angeles County. That compares with 44 and 17, respectively, this time last year.

Update: KNBC-4 reports Ruiz may have been riding home from visiting a friend when he was hit. 

A visitor to the scene found a broken Cateye taillight, suggesting that his bike should have been visible from behind. 

Anyone with information is urged to call CHP’s East LA office at 323/980-4600.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Heriberto Ruiz and all his friends and family. 

3 comments

  1. JD says:

    We offer up our heartfelt prayers for the family and friends of Mr. Ruiz, and for the callous hit and run drivers to be apprehended and brought to justice.

  2. mark says:

    Question: re; recent 2:00AM – 3:00AM cycling fatality. You make special mention that there was a Cateye light found at the scene. Please inquire what model of Cateye it was, and see if the batteries can be found…. I know it’s asking a lot…. FYI; until very recently, Cateye mfg’d very cheap, battery powered lights…only one of which (3 LED vertical light) passed (barely) our published minimum standards, as I recall… and That was with Fully charged, fresh batteries. We should really find out the condition of the batteries and the light before making what could be easily misconstrued as sweeping, maligning statement against using lights, and dangerously perceived as negative comments against their effectiveness.

    Rather; as more and more information and evidence is being gathered across the country, the more reliable the statement is that riding with Ultra Bright Lights can Save Your Life, and prevent most all “hit from behind accidents”. Without mentioning names at this point, there are Large US bike manufactures that will soon be publishing independently conducted university research papers on this very topic.

    As Sad as it is; this whole episode is riddled with questions….riding at 2:00AM -3:00 AM?… across a speed zone on-ramp,,, withOUT First looking, checking, and waiting for traffic to pass, before crossing ??? I think this is a lot like blaming the plane for crashing because the pilot forgot to put gas in it…. or blaming trains because people ride past closed barriers, to cross the tracks, and get killed,,, (which also seems to happen a lot). Again, I find it hard to believe that you challenge the efficacy of riding with Ultra Bright lights, in this particular accident.

    • bikinginla says:

      Unfortunately, the light was in pieces, so no telling what it was. However, there was at least one battery found with it; how much of a charge it had, no way to tell.

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