There’s no excuse. Period.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, a bike rider has died as the result of a collision with an allegedly drunk driver in Lake Elsinore.
The victim, identified only as a 21-year old man from Murrieta, was riding on Railroad Canyon Road south of Summerhill Drive around 8:58 pm Friday, when he was hit from behind by a 75-year old driver.
Police arrested the driver at the scene after concluding that she had been drinking.
The bicyclist was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died the following day.
The press release does not say how far below Summerhill the collision occurred, or which direction they were traveling.
A satellite view shows two lanes headed south, with a right turn leading onto a freeway onramp, and an optional right turn from the center lane. Northbound, there are three lanes, with an additional two left turn lanes leading onto the freeway, and a double left at Summerhill, along with a right-turn only lane.
Nearly 30 people are killed by drunk drivers in the US every day, at a cost to society of over $59 billion dollars a year.
The cost to their loved ones is beyond measure.
There is simply no excuse for getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs. Ever. If you think you’re okay to drive, you’re not. And someone else is likely to pay the price.
This is the 57th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County.
Update: The Press-Enterprise has identified the victim as Murrieta resident Mark Heigel. The story reports the 75-year old driver who killed him, Thelma Jeanette Trachy, was released from jail Saturday.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Officer Roberge at 951/776-1099 or sheriff’s dispatch at 951/776-1099.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Mark Heigel and his loved ones.