Romero guilty of murder in Huntington Beach DUI bike death, and wrong-way driver injures 25 LA sheriff’s cadets

Guilty.

An Orange County jury convicted 28-year old Victor Manuel Romero of second-degree murder and hit-and-run in the 2019 death of Raymond MacDonald as he rode his bike in Huntington Beach.

Romero faced the murder charge after signing a Watson notice following a 2012 conviction for DUI, specifying that he could be charged with the crime if he killed someone while under the influence anytime in the future.

And he did.

Romero started the deadly chain of events by crashing into a bar owner’s car as he left a parking lot, before smashing into MacDonald’s bike and speeding off without slowing down, then fleeing on foot after finally crashing his car into a tree.

He had been drinking at a pair of Huntington Beach bars, and got into a fight with someone in the parking garage next door, which his lawyer bizarrely argued meant Romero was not responsible for his actions after suffering a brain injury.

Fortunately, the jury didn’t buy it.

He now faces 15 to life when he is sentenced in February.

Adding to the tragedy, MacDonald had just finished celebrating his 33rd birthday, and was towing a bike trailer loaded with gifts across the street when Romero ran him down.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels.

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This is who we share the road with.

A wrong-way SUV driver plowed into a group of LA County Sheriff’s cadets on a Whittier training run Wednesday morning, injuring 25 recruits — five critically.

One of the five is on a ventilator, while others suffered life-changing injuries, including lost limbs.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva, who lost his run for re-election this week, describe the scene as looking like an airplane crash, with “bodies scattered everywhere.”

And in case anyone still thinks hi-viz is the key to bike and pedestrian safety, all 75 recruits on the run were wearing reflective vests, in addition to running in four columns accompanied by two black-and-white patrol vehicles and eight road guards.

Yet the driver still smashed into them at an estimated 30 – 40 mph. Not only did the 22-year old driver fail to slow down, there are reports that he continued accelerating as he sliced through the cadets — which could suggest this was something other than just another “oopsie.”

Reports varied on whether driver appeared to be under the influence after the crash, though cannabis was found in his vehicle.

He was taken into custody by the cadets, and was transported to the hospital with undisclosed injuries.

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No surprise here, unfortunately.

A year after acquiring Cycling Tips, Pink Bike and Trailforks, Outside has reportedly laid-off 12 percent of the workforce, with a focus on writing and editorial workers, including at sister publication VeloNews.

Needless to say, it was not well received by readers of the sites.

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Nice to see LA marking Sunday’s World Day of Remembrance for victims of traffic violence.

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Georgia senatorial candidate Hershel Walker somehow derided his opponent, incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock, for “letting” President Joe Biden ride his bike.

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The war on cars may be a myth, but the war on bikes just keeps on going.

A Brooklyn councilmember is demanding answers from the local police precinct commander, saying it’s deeply disturbing that a noted bike lawyer was hauled off in handcuffs for attempting to remove a piece of plastic illegally obscuring a driver’s license plate.

A Hoboken city councilmember called for more bike lanes, days after he was hit by a driver who yelled at him to use the bike lane before crashing into him; the driver in question says it was just an “oopsie,” not road rage.

No bias here. A Conservative Member of the British Parliament says lowering the speed limit in Wales to 20 mph is just a ploy to raise cash while attacking motorists — even if it is almost universally ignored.

But sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A bike-riding British naval commander has been cleared of using racially abusive language in a heated roadside road rage incident with a Black motorist, who alleged the commander called him a “Black cunt,” while the sailor insisted he had merely referred to the driver’s black car.

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Local

In what could be good news for bike riders, CD13 Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell conceded his re-election effort to challenger Hugo Soto-Martinez, who has promised to complete many of the bikeway projects O’Farrell had blocked until recently, along with pedestrianizing parts of Hollywood Blvd.

 

State 

Streetsblog talks with Bike East Bay Advocacy Director Dave Campbell, who is leaving the organization after 26 years of fighting for safer streets in the East San Francisco Bay Area.

Sad news from Modesto, where a man riding a bicycle was killed in a collision Tuesday evening. He must have been the victim of a sentient self-driving car, however, since there’s no mention of a driver anywhere in the article.

 

National

Politico talks with former DC and Chicago DOT director Gabe Klein, who is now tasked with overseeing EV infrastructure for the Biden administration.

Gear Junkie recommends ten gifts for the bicyclist in your life. Even if the only bicyclist in your life is you.

A new study from Oregon State University shows bike boxes really do improve safety at intersections for people on bicycles.

The rich get richer. Just one day after we mentioned the ebike rebate program in Austin, Texas, the city announced it is more than doubling the amount available for rebates, from $600 to $1,300.

Chicago’s mayor was deservedly blasted online after an advocacy group posted video of her guards double-parked in a bike lane for a doughnut run.

‘Tis the season. An Ohio man is preparing for holiday bike giveaways, after spending the year collecting, fixing and donating bikes for kids who need them; he estimates he’s given away nearly double the 3,000 bikes from last year.

A Connecticut driver learns the hard way that it may not be the best idea to flee the scene after severely injuring the bike-riding brother of the state’s lieutenant governor.

New York considers a ban on secondhand and uncertified lithium-ion ebike and e-scooter batteries, which have been blamed for an increasing number of fires.

An 18-year old Virginia man now faces additional charges for the alleged drunken crash that killed one woman and seriously injured another as they were riding together this past August.

South Carolina advocates are calling on the legislature to repeal a ban on red light cameras, as a national study shows the traffic cams reduce fatalities by 20%. Hopefully, a new city council will reconsider LA’s ban on red light cams, too.

An Orlando bike cop was lucky to escape with minor injuries when he was dragged by a fleeing driver following a traffic stop, and was still stuck on the vehicle when the driver crashed into a tree.

 

International

A new report shows it’s still not safe to travel through London if you’re not in a car.

Bicycling deaths are even spiking in bike-friendly Belgium, as fatalities hit a ten-year high for the first nine months of this year.

An Indian man has just 21 countries left in his around-the-world bike tour of 191-countries, which began four bikes and 18 years ago; one of the bikes was purchased by the Polish prime minister, after his previous bicycle was stolen while touring the country.

 

Competitive Cycling

Lachlan Morton, the Aussie cyclist who beat the Tour de France peloton to Paris in his own Alt Tour, has now set his sites on breaking the 78-day record for riding around the world set by Scottish long-distance cyclist Mark Beaumont in 2017.

World handbike champ Mitch Valize is working with a lab in the Netherlands to improve the high-tech materials and design of his handcycle, comparing it to the design of F1 race cars.

 

Finally…

That feeling when science proves ebikes are more efficient and fun than regular bikes. If you’re going to burglarize vehicles, try to hide your wet bike tires from sharp-eyed cops.

And if the prices are too good to be true, you may have been conned by yet another fraudulent SRAM website.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And get vaccinated, already.

Oh, and fuck Putin, too.

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