Yet another Southern California bike rider has lost his life to a heartless coward in a car.
Except this time, the victim was just a 16-year old boy.
According to the Ventura County Star, he was riding his bike on Hemlock Street in Oxnard, east of N Street, near the boundary with Port Hueneme around 8:35 Wednesday night, when he was apparently run down from behind by a hit-and-run driver.
The victim, identified only as a Port Hueneme resident, was rushed to Ventura County Medical Center, where he died.
Police investigators concluded that he was riding west on Hemlock, and had the right-of-way when he was struck.
The driver’s car was found abandoned less that a mile away near Hemlock and Patterson Road. The 39-year old owner was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and felony hit-and-run.
According to an Oxnard police spokesperson, the victim had a headlight and reflectors on his bike, although it was so badly mangled as a result of the crash that police couldn’t tell if he had a taillight.
However, he was not wearing a helmet, as required for anyone under 18 under California law. Although whether that matters would depend on whether he suffered a head injury, and whether his injuries might have been survivable with one.
And that could depend on how fast the driver was going, on a street where residents have long complained about speeding drivers, and have repeatedly requested speed bumps, with no response from Oxnard city officials.
This is at least the 51st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the sixth that I’m aware of in Ventura County.
At least 18 of those deaths have involved hit-and-run drivers.
Update: The victim has been identified as 16-year old Andres Hernandez, who died of blunt force head trauma.
So his lack of a helmet may be relevant, depending on the speed of the impact.
His alleged killer, 39-year old Julio Sanchez, was being held on $500,000 bail after pleading not guilty to second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter with prior DUI convictions, leaving the scene of an accident, and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Andres Hernandez and all his family and loved ones.