Update: Arleta bike rider killed by suspected wrong-way DUI hit-and-run driver

Sometimes there’s nothing a bike rider can do to avoid a wreck as a car come hurtling towards him.

And sometimes, the details of a wreck just make you want to scream.

According to multiple sources, a disabled 51-year old man was riding his bike west on Van Nuys Blvd just below Beachy Avenue in Arleta around 2 am Wednesday, when he somehow became involved in a multi-car crash caused by a suspected stoned driver on the wrong side of the road.

Police suspect the 22-year old driver was under the influence of marijuana when he crossed onto the wrong side of the road and apparently hit the victim head-on as he rode in a bike lane, either before or after smashing into as many as four parked cars.

KABC-7 reports he was hit with enough force to shatter his bike into multiple pieces; a photo from the scene shows the handlebars broken off his bike with a single shoe resting nearby.

He came to rest in front of Arleta High School, and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver briefly remained at the scene before running off on foot. KABC-7 reports he was arrested around 4 am when police found him hiding in a back property near his home about a mile away after someone reported a prowler.

He was not identified by authorities; however KABC-7 reported that family members at the scene identified him as Eric Garcia. They said he rode his bike at night to support himself by collecting cans.

To compound the tragedy, he became disabled after being hit by a car when he was in junior high school.

School officials closed the main entrance to the school and directed students away from the crash scene to shield them from the tragedy.

This is the 46th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st in LA County.

Update: In an update that is not yet online, KNBC-4 reports that the victim may have been hit by one or more of the parked cars as they spun out into the street following the impact, and that the driver had both marijuana and alcohol in his car.

My deepest prayers and sympathy for Eric Garcia and all his family.

Thanks to Ed Ryder and Richard Risemberg for the heads-up.

2 comments

  1. JD says:

    We offer up our prayers for the family and friends of Mr. Garcia.

  2. I can only imagine the grief Mr Garia’s family feels. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

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