Update: Woman killed in Oxnard crash after allegedly swerving in front of SUV

In any bicycling crash, the question is whether there were any witnesses other than the driver.

Because too often, the victim is in no shape to tell his or her side of the story.

That’s what happened in Oxnard this morning, where a bike rider was killed after allegedly swerving in front on an oncoming SUV.

According to the Ventura County Star, the victim, identified only as a 44-year old woman from Port Hueneme, was riding west on Hemlock Drive near Seaside Drive around 5:30 am, when she allegedly swerved into the path of the 26-year old driver.

He was unable to stop in time, and slammed into her bike.

She was taken from Oxnard to the Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura, where she died.

The driver remained at the scene, and cooperated with investigators. Police don’t suspect he was under the influence.

Unfortunately, Oxnard police didn’t indicate whether there were any other witnesses, or if they were relying on strictly on the driver’s description of what happened.

Bike riders often call crashes like this an SWSS, or single witness suicide swerve, because in the absence of any other witnesses, it’s just as likely that the driver drifted to the right to hit the victim as she rode in the bike lane.

Especially at that hour, when the driver is likely to be sleepy and inattentive.

It’s also possible that she was in the traffic lane, and the driver failed to see her until the last moment, and mistakenly assumed she swerved in front of him.

And it’s possible, if not likely, that the driver was exceeding the 40 mph speed limit, which would have reduced his reaction time, and given the false impression that she had sufficient time to safely move to the left.

Chances are, we’ll never know.

This is at least the 36th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 2nd that I’m aware of in Ventura County; the previous death was in Oxnard, as well.

Update: The victim has been identified as Port Hueneme resident Dana Kuehl; she was actually 39, not 44.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Dana Kuehl and her loved ones.

Thanks to Victor Bale for the heads-up.

 

11 comments

  1. JJD says:

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

  2. Stan says:

    That’s an inaccurate, assumption but I was a very close friend of the woman who was killed I know your not insinuating it was a suicide but it’s just hard to see those words in the article the woman , my friend would never intentionally swerve into traffic she will be missed we love you D, RIP

    • Chris says:

      Stan, you are over reacting. The write is specifically stating that’s what drivers state when trying to exonerate themselves. I do not read into any of this author’s writing that he believes anyone does such things.

    • bikinginla says:

      I don’t believe for one moment she did. I also don’t believe she swerved in front of the driver at all, for any reason.

    • Kate says:

      Hi Stan,

      Any info on services? I too, am a friend of Dana’s and some of our local TO friends are looking for service info. Funeral home said no as of now. We’ve reached out to her dad but are awaiting a reply.

      Best,
      Kate

  3. Gary Koch says:

    We had neighbors that always j-walked in front of or mobile home complex on a busy BUSY highway. We warned and warned them. One day they were both killed by a 16 year old driver. My mother sent him a supportive note and the boy’s mother profusely thanked my mom. This was many, many years ago. The point I’m making this is why we call them accidents. I would send the SUV driver a “sorry you were involved” in this very said death note. I appreciate the person that stated her friend was not suicidal. A tragedy for all.

  4. D.Shiffman says:

    It’s also possible that the journalist is very incompetent. Why not just stick to the facts. You are speculating. She was not suicidal.

    • bikinginla says:

      Read it again. No one is speculating that she was suicidal. As I explained, the term SWSS, or Single Witness Suicide Swerve, refers to a crash where the only witness is the driver, who says the victim swerved in front of the car. I’ve offered a number of alternative theories, none of which involve anyone taking their own life.

  5. Blue Ghetto Friend says:

    I am a friend of Dana’s and I think it’s irresponsible for the writer to include anything other than the facts here. I agree that the writer doesn’t directly say it was anything but an accident, but the title and the content of this story certainly insinuate that it could have been a suicide or that maybe the driver was asleep at the wheel when his speeding car swerved into my friend. It may seem easier to understand why this happened if there was someone or something to blame. It was nothing more than a simple accident with a tragic ending. Dana was loved by many and will be truly missed. We mustn’t forget that Dana isn’t the only victim. Please be sensitive and compassionate to the young driver who, by no fault of his own, must live with this horrible event the rest of his life. Try to focus on the good times and happy memories and not what happened Tues morning as we grieve the loss of our friend Dana Kuehl.

  6. Rather Not says:

    Hello, Dana was riding with a friend who was a few hundred yards behind her. Dana was wearing ear buds and listening to music. Her friend yelled for her not to turn left but she couldn’t hear him over the music. Her friend saw her get hit by the truck and I’m sure Dana had a few moments to realize her mistake before being struck.

    • bikinginla says:

      Thank you. That makes more sense than the news report, which makes no mention of the earbuds, and just says she swerved in front of the driver. I appreciate the added information.

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