Update: Road raging driver intentionally kills bike rider in Exposition Park hit-and-run

KABC-7 is reporting that a bike rider was killed in a hit-and-run near LA’s Exposition Park Thursday morning.

The collision occurred around 9 am near South Vermont Ave and West 39th Place, which places it just west of the Coliseum.

No information is available on the victim or how it happened at this time.

The suspect vehicle is a silver or white full-size SUV with a male driver, last seen making a left turn onto 39th. The vehicle may have a broken driver’s side mirror.

That suggests the collision took place on northbound Vermont at or before 39th. A satellite view shows a four-lane street on Vermont with a median and center turn lane, while 39th is an undivided two-lane street.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD.

This is the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the ninth in the City of LA.

Three of of those deaths in LA, and seven in the county, have been hit-and-runs.

Update: KTLA-5 identifies the victim as a 35-year old man, and places the location across the street from 3833 S. Vermont Ave, next to a bus stop

The report also says the driver was last seen fleeing north on Vermont, rather than turning onto 39th, as the initial report indicated.

Update 2: It gets worse. According to KABC-7, the driver intentionally ran down the victim following an argument over who had the right of way. 

A witness to the crash reports the victim had attempted to cross Vermont against the light while the driver had the right-of-way, leading to an argument between the two. 

The driver, who must have gotten out of his SUV, pushed the rider over before threatening to run over him.

Then he apparently got back in his car, and did exactly that.

That makes this murder, rather than just hit-and-and. As if that isn’t bad enough.

Update 3: The City of Los Angeles offers a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run. 

Update 4: KNBC-4 reports the victim’s bicycle is missing; however, the story is not online yet.

Update 5: I’m told a ghost bike will be placed at the scene at 6:30 pm tonight (Thursday).

Update 6: A report on KTLA-5 indicates that both the victim and the driver were headed north on Vermont before the altercation. They also report that vehicle may be a domestic SUV, and that the driver sped off with the bike still stuck underneath, which explains why it wasn’t found at the scene.

Update 7: Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD’s South Traffic Division at 323/421-2577.

Update 8: According to My News LA, an arrest was made in this case four days after the incident, but apparently no public announcement was made. 

Thirty-one-year old Andrew Williams has been held on $1 million bond in the death of Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified. 

Williams was scheduled to be arraigned on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run on Wednesday, November 4th; he faces 25 to life upon conviction. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his loved ones.

6 comments

  1. JD says:

    Our prayers go up for the family and friends of the victim.

  2. David Wolfberg says:

    That could have been me. 39th from Buckingham to Vermont is a Class 3 and a nice way around the Class 2 that Expo eastbound pretends to be. Vermont’s a little scary right there though that’s also purportedly a Class 3. With the deep sidewalks and median it seems there’s room for bike lanes.
    http://bit.ly/1LQHNQh

    There is a push to wipe out the community produce garden south of the swimming pool in Expo Park and replace it with another monstrous parking lot.

  3. Jennifer says:

    What a horrible story. I hope they find this murderer and throw him in jail for a very long time. Someone who is unstable enough to kill a stranger over a silly argument needs to be removed from society.

    My condolences to the friends and family of the victim. Hopefully the rest of us (myself included) can learn from this that you never know what a road raging motorist is capable of doing.

  4. True Freedom says:

    This is why we need more bike lanes. It gives cyclists a designated place to be and negates arguments over right of way.

    I’m not victim blaming. This situation is a gross and disgusting event. I hope the driver is caught and fried.

    I’m a cyclist myself, and feel much more comfortable in a bike lane, because I feel like drivers know I’m allowed and supposed to be there. Even though the code says cyclists are allowed to be on the streets, and even take the entire lane in many situations, most drivers either don’t know this or act like they don’t know it.

  5. Sean says:

    Never saw any follow ups by the media about who the victim was or the search for the murderer.

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