Tag Archive for bicycling fatality

Update: Nine-year old boy killed in Irvine collision

Any traffic death is heartbreaking. But it always seems worse when it’s a child.

Word is just coming in that a nine-year old boy was killed while riding his bike in Irvine this afternoon.

According to a press release from the Irvine Police Department, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was hit by a van at 3:15 pm at the intersection of Roosevelt and Bay Tree. He was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead just 20 minutes later.

The 57-year old driver remained at the scene.

No other information is available at this time.

A satellite view shows a residential neighborhood with four lane divided roadway in each direction, with a bike lane on Roosevelt and three parks within a four block radius.

Anyone with information is urged to contact IPD Traffic Sergeant Matt August at 949/724-7023.

This is the 70th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 17th in Orange County this year.

Update: The Orange County Coroner has identified the victim as Keven Jiang, who lived in Irvine. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Keven Jiang and all his loved ones.

Thanks to David Huntsman for the link.

Bike rider killed in midnight collision on Vincent Thomas bridge

Sad news from San Pedro, as a bike rider has been killed in a collision after falling on the Vincent Thomas Bridge.

Multiple, virtually identical reports indicate 31-year old Long Beach resident Sergio Tapia was riding north in the right lane of the east-west bridge when he reportedly fell and was hit by a commercial truck, then knocked into the next lane where he was hit by a car.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

No word on what might have caused him to fall, or if there were independent witnesses who saw it happen.

Unlike the replacement Gerald Desmond Bridge, which will have both bike and pedestrian paths when it opens, the Vincent Thomas Bridge has neither, forcing bicyclists to ride in heavy industrial traffic coming to and from the ports in Long Beach and San Pedro. And for some riders, especially those who work at the ports, there is no other viable route.

This is the 69th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 28th in Los Angeles County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers Sergio Tapia and his family. 

Bellflower bike rider killed in August hit-and-run; one-third of LA County bicycling deaths are hit-and-runs

Sometimes bad news takes a long time to surface.

That’s what happened Tuesday, as word finally broke that a bike rider was killed in a Bellflower hit-and-run last August.

According to the Press-Telegram, 60-year old Bradley Miller was riding on Lakewood Blvd north of Rosecrans Ave a little after 11 pm on August 18th when he was struck by an unidentified vehicle.

Sheriff’s deputies have little information on the car or the driver, and no details were released on how the wreck occurred.

Anyone with information is urged asked to call the Lakewood Station’s Traffic Office at 562/623-3500.

This is the 67th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 27th in Los Angeles County. Twelve of those have been victims of hit-and-runs, as have nine of the deaths in LA County.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Bradley Miller and his family.


Mountain biker dies from trail fall in Riverside County

Sad news from the Inland Empire, as a mountain bike rider has been found dead following a fall on a Riverside County trail.

According to the Idyllwild Town Crier, the body of 57-year old Pinyon resident James Thomas was discovered on nearby trail around 8 pm Sunday.

He had been riding downhill on a dirt trail two-tenths of a mile southwest of California 74 and Pinon Flats Transfer Station Road around 1:55 pm, when he apparently lost control after hitting a rocky patch.

Thomas suffered significant head injuries, despite wearing a helmet. He was found by a hiker about six hours later.

The story does not report how the authorities can be so specific in pinpointing the time of the crash.

This should serve as a tragic reminder to always tell someone where you’re going, and give them a time when you’ll be back.

This is the 68th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the eighth in Riverside County. He is the second SoCal trail rider to be killed in a solo fall since the first of the year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for James Thomas and his family.


Update: Arrest made in Expo Park road rage attack; driver charged with murder, hit-and-run

Evidently, it was a secret.

In a surprise announcement, My News LA reports a suspect in last month’s fatal road rage assault near Exposition Park is under arrest — and has been since four days after the October 15th incident.

Thirty-two-year old Andrew Williams was scheduled to be arraigned today on felony counts of murder and hit-and-run in the death of 35-year old Ruben Wharton Vanegas, who had not been previously identified.

That confirms an earlier witness report that Williams had been arguing with Vanegas, and had threatened to run him over before doing exactly that.

Williams has apparently been in jail the past 16 days in lieu of $1 million bond. He faces 25 to life upon conviction, according to the site.

Update: Williams arraignment has been delayed until November 20th.

Update: Bike rider killed in Carson when shipping container falls off flatbed truck

You’ve got to be kidding.

A bike rider lost his life in Carson this evening, for no reason other than he was there.

According to KTLA-5, a man was riding his bike on Santa Fe Avenue near Warnock Way around 5:05 pm Tuesday evening when a shipping container fell off a flatbed truck and landed on him.

He was pronounced dead at the scene; he has not been publicly identified.

The LA Times reports the truck somehow struck a railroad bridge, dislodging the massive container.

To make matters worse, the victim was not even riding in the street. KTLA says he was on the sidewalk when it fell on him, most likely as the truck was passing him.

Based on the limited description, there was absolutely nothing he could have done to avoid it. The only question is whether the driver struck a support, or if the load was too high to pass under the bridge.

This is the 65th bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 26th in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports that the coroner’s office has identified the victim only as an Asian male, and confirms that the truck was passing the victim when the load fell off. 

According to a witness, a similar wreck occurred the previous day; fortunately, no one was hurt in that one. He blames trucking companies for cutting corners because truck drivers are on strike at the ports of LA and Long Beach. 

As a result, the companies are hiring flatbed truck drivers who simply strap the containers on, and who are paid by the load, rather than the hour, encouraging them to take chances. 

Today, it may have cost a man his life. 

Update 2: The LA coroner’s office has identified the victim as 51-year old Long Beach resident Robert Castorena.

Update 3:  BAC member David Wolfberg forwards what appears to be Robert Castorena’s Facebook page

Meanwhile, the LA Times fills in details about shipping companies and how the collision occurred; the truck apparently scraped the underneath of the railroad underpass, breaking the cables that secured the container.

No word on whether the driver, or the company he worked for, will face charges. 

Update 4: Police report the driver may face charges depending on the outcome of the investigation; they appear to be looking into whether the load was too high for the bridge. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Robert Castorena and his loved ones.


Update: West Covina bicyclist killed in (alleged) drunken late-night hit-and-run

For once, there was a cop around when he was needed.

Unfortunately, it came too late for a bike rider in West Covina last night.

Multiple sources are reporting that a bicyclist was killed in a high-speed hit-and-run just before midnight, and the allegedly drunken driver arrested moments later just a few blocks away.

Forty-four-year old La Puente resident Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva was riding his bike north on the 1100 block of South Valinda Avenue, just above Merced Avenue, at 11:49 pm when he was hit from behind by a car traveling at a high rate of speed.

A police officer who was writing a report at nearby Melinda Elementary School heard the collision, and gave chase as the driver sped away, he stopped the car on Cameron Ave, where he noticed substantial damage to the vehicle.

According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a second officer went back to the scene, and found Ruiz-Villanueva dead at the scene.

The paper reports he had been on his way to work when he was killed.

Police arrested 25-year old Presley Danielle Rodriguez of Glendora on suspicion of felony driving under the influence causing great bodily injury or death and felony hit-and-run. She was booked on $100,000 bail.

Unfortunately, this occurred in Los Angeles County, where cases like this are usually plea bargained away, leaving the drivers to face little or no jail time.

This is the 64th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 25th in Los Angeles County.

Eight of those 25 deaths have been hit-and-runs.

Update: The driver, Presley Danielle Rodriguez, faces up to 15 years in prison on charges of hit-and-run and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. And for a change, the court appears to be taking this case seriously, increasing her bond to $150,000, $50,000 more than prosecutors requested.

The SGV Tribune reports Ruiz-Villanueva was on his way to work at A-1 Power Sweeping Co in Baldwin Park; his bicycle was his only form of transportation. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Jose De Jesus Ruiz-Villanueva and his family. 

Update: Twelve-year old Oceanside boy killed in collision with pickup while riding his bike to school

Sometimes you just want to scream.

A 12-year old Oceanside boy is dead, evidently because a driver neglected to look both ways before pulling out of a driveway.

According to multiple sources, the victim apparently struck the side of the driver’s pickup as he pulled out of an RV park driveway at 1510 South Coast Highway at 7:03 this morning.

The Seaside Courier reports the driver was turning left onto the Coast Highway when he heard a thump on the side of his truck. He made a U-turn into another driveway, and got out to find the victim lodged under his rear tire.

The boy’s bike was lying nearby, as other drivers helped guide the truck off of him, according to the San Diego Union Tribune. He was flown to Tri-City Hospital, but died a few minutes later.

Despite a lack of witnesses, police suspect the victim was riding against traffic in the bike lane, while on his way to a nearby school.

However, even if he had been riding the wrong way, he should have been clearly visible unless the driver neglected to look to his right as he prepared to pull into the center turn lane.

It’s also possible that the boy would have survived if the driver had simply stopped when he heard the thump, which was most likely the sound of his bike hitting the side of the truck.

A 12-year old boy is unlikely to have been riding fast enough to suffer significant, let alone life threatening, injuries by colliding with the side of the pickup. It’s probable that the fatal injuries were caused when the driver made his U-turn with the boy trapped underneath.

This is the 63rd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 11th in San Diego County.

Update: The victim has been identified as Logan Lipton, a champion surfer who loved skateboarding and frequently rode to school. 

Tragically, though, his uncle says he was unusually apprehensive about going to school his bike on Thursday.

Update 2: A comment below from Barbara says the driver is a bicyclist himself, and is very torn up about this, which is only natural. 

She also says that he didn’t see Logan on his bike because the sun was just beginning to rise.

However, even at that early hour, there should still be enough light to see. And the sun could not have been in the driver’s eyes because the street runs north and south, and he would have been facing west. 

We can sympathize with the driver; something like this must be devastating to live with. But it’s far worse for Logan’s parents, family and friends.

It’s entirely possible that Logan may bear some responsibility for what happened if it can be shown that he really was riding against traffic. And he would have been more visible with a light at that early hour, if he didn’t have one on his bike.

But let’s not forget that cars are big, dangerous machines, and it only takes a momentary lapse in attention to have life altering consequences. 

Update 3: A gofundme account has been started to help the family pay for funeral expenses; Logan’s father is a Carlsbad police officer.

He was honored by his fellow surfers with a paddle out on Sunday.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Logan Lipton and all his family and friends.



Bicyclist killed in Compton collision

More bad news, as a Compton bike rider was killed in a collision Monday morning.

According to the Press-Telegram, the victim, identified only as a man in his 30s, was riding north on Compton Ave around 6:30 am when he was struck by a vehicle driving east on El Segundo Blvd.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver remained at the site following the collision.

A satellite view shows a signalized intersection with four lanes in each direction, with a center left turn lane; Compton narrows to two lanes south of El Segundo.

No other information is available at this time.

This is the 62nd bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 24th in Los Angeles County.

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

Update: Bike rider dies following wrong way collision in Boyle Heights last week

Word is just coming in that another bike rider has died after being hospitalized following a collision.

Last week EGP News reported that a bike rider had undergone surgery after suffering major injuries while riding in Boyle Heights.

The victim was riding against traffic on westbound Fourth Street near South Mission Road around 10:15 pm on Monday, October 12th when he was hit head-on; the driver remained at the scene.

An email from his niece identifies the victim as Adolfo “J.R.” Haro. The family just learned of the collision and his death because he was not carrying identification.

She also reports the driver was speeding.

A vigil will be held and a ghost bike installed at 6:30 tonight.

This is the 61st bicycling fatality in Southern California, and the 23rd in Los Angeles County; it’s also the 10th bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles.

Update: An LAPD officer reports that Haro was walking his bike in the streets against traffic, rather than riding, even though there was a sidewalk he could have been using.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Adolfo “J.R.” Haro and his family.

Thanks to Danny Gamboa for the heads-up.

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