Update: Innocent bike rider becomes collateral damage in South LA police chase; victim identified as Colombian man

It was bound to happen sooner or later.

We’ve seen a number of police chases in recent years that resulted in close calls with people riding bicycles, with riders nearly struck by fleeing drivers.

Now you can remove “nearly” from that statement.

According to multiple sources, a man was killed while riding his bike in South LA Wednesday morning, collateral damage to a burglary suspect attempting to speed away from pursuing cops.

The incident began when the suspect allegedly tried to break into a vehicle near East 48th and Central Streets in South LA, and attempted to flee in his car with the owner of the vehicle in close pursuit.

The LAPD took over the chase near 48th Street and Central Ave, pursuing the suspect through several area streets before he slammed into the victim at 46th and Hopper Ave around 6:12 am, while reportedly driving on the wrong side of the roadway.

The victim, who hasn’t been publicly identified, was sent flying through the air, landing next to his badly damaged bicycle. A witness description suggests that he likely died instantly upon impact.

The driver lost control after the crash, smashing into eight other vehicles before rolling his car, coming to rest upside down in the street. He reportedly attempted to flee on foot before being taken into custody.

He will likely face yet to be determined felony charges, according to police.

One of which should be murder.

This is at least the 14th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also the third in the City of Los Angeles.

And yet another tragic reminder of the dangers police chases pose to innocent bystanders.

Update: The victim has been identified as 46-year old Colombian native Jose David Monsalve Rojas

According to KTLA-5, 

A GoFundMe page set up by loved ones describes Monsalve Rojas as a father of five who left Colombia in search of a better life and had a dream, they said, of curing his daughter’s liver disease.

“Imagine, a regular morning now turned into a day we’ll never forget,” the campaign organizer wrote. “David touched lives in ways that words can barely capture. A soul so deeply devoted to his children.”

So far, the crowdfunding page has raised less than $700 of the modest $5,000 goal. 

Meanwhile, the speeding driver who struck Rojas with her Chevrolet Suburban SUV was ID’d as 23-year old Germaine Smith.

Smith is being held on $327,000 bond after being booked for felony evading causing death, as well as additional outstanding warrants,

Anyone with information is urged to call LAPD Traffic Group Detectives at 213/486-0690; information can be provided anonymously online or by calling 800/222-8477.

My deepest sympathy for Jose David Monsalve Rojas and all his loved ones. 

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