71-year old man killed riding bicycle in Ladera Heights; driver arrested for DUI, yet CHP blames the victim

Anyone riding a bicycle in their 70s should be applauded.

Not killed.

Yet that’s what happened in unincorporated Ladera Heights in Los Angeles County early Saturday morning, when a 71-year old man was run down by an alleged DUI driver.

So naturally, police blamed the victim.

According to a pair of nearly identical reports, the bike-riding man, who has not been publicly identified, was riding south on Alvern Street around 4:40 am when he allegedly turned right onto Centinela Ave directly in front of an oncoming driver in the right westbound lane.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Then again, on a street with a 45 mph speed limit — and a driver likely to be going faster at that hour — he had little chance of surviving the impact.

CHP investigators arrested 27-year old Culver City resident Michael Tesfai for driving under the influence.

The question is whether there were any independent witnesses who saw the crash at that hour, or whether investigators are relying on the word of the driver, who has an inherent interest in seeing his actions in the best light. And may not be the most reliable witness given Tesfai’s allegedly intoxicated state.

This is at least the 49th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 14th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County.

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

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