Tag Archive for bicycling fatlity

Breaking news: Bike rider killed in Sunland collision Saturday night

More bad news.

I’ve just received confirmation that a bike rider was killed in Sunland on Saturday night.

Late Sunday afternoon, I received an email reporting that a young man was hit and killed by a car on Foothill Blvd around 7 pm. Numerous comments on the Facebook page of the Foothills Paper recount seeing a body covered by a white tarp at the intersection of Foothill and McVine, with a bicycle lying nearby.

Now the Foothills Paper has just confirmed that Sunland-Tujunga resident Billy Martinez was killed in a left cross collision at that intersection around 7:20 pm Saturday.

According to the paper, Martinez was riding home from his job at Von’s in Tujunga when a car turned left in front of him; another report indicates that he may have been riding at speed without lights, but that is unconfirmed at this time. Employees at the ARCO station on the corner attempted to help him, but the paper reports he died of internal bleeding at the scene.

A memorial was held for him Sunday evening at the same location, at about the same time he was killed.

A comment on the Facebook page identifies him as the father of two small children.

This is the 71st bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 31st in Los Angeles County; it’s also the second bicycling death to occur in the county at almost the same time Saturday night.

And it’s the 13th cycling fatality in Los Angeles this year; a death that earlier had been attributed to Los Angeles actually occurred in unincorporated South LA.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Billy Martinez and all his family and loved ones.

Thanks to Meghan Jenks for the heads-up.

Update: Bike rider killed in hit-from-behind collision; 5th cyclist killed in Lake Elsinore in past three years

We ended last week with a fallen cyclist.

And tragically, we start the week with another.

Just two days after James “Mitch” Waller was killed and another rider seriously injured when they were run down from behind while riding in Laguna Canyon Road near Laguna Beach, word comes of yet another Southern California bicycling fatality.

And like the others, she died after her bike was struck from behind.

According to the Press-Enterprise, 38-year old Lake Elsinore resident Lucia Ruano was riding south on Grand Avenue at Marvella Lane in Lake Elsinore when she was hit by a silver Ford F150 pickup at 8:37 am. She was pronounced dead just 35 minutes later at the Inland Valley Medical Center.

A street view indicates what looks like a rough shoulder there.

As too often happens with fatal collisions in the Inland area, there’s just too little information in the story to give a clear idea what happened. However, a comment on the Lake Elsinore – Wildomar Patch site offered a second-hand report that the truck was traveling at a high rate of speed, trapping the bike underneath.

And yes, the witness says the victim was wearing a helmet; from the sound of it, it probably didn’t matter.

Depending on exactly where the collision occurred, the driver may have drifted off the roadway, or Ruano may have entered the traffic lane to avoid an obstacle on the shoulder. Or the driver may have hit her while turning onto Marvella.

This is the 42nd bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth in Riverside County; that compares to 29 and five, respectively, this time last year. Remarkably, it’s also the fifth cycling fatality in tiny Lake Elsinore, population 53,000, since 2010, and the second on Grand Avenue.

And if that doesn’t indicate a serious problem, I don’t know what does.

Meanwhile, bicycling fatalities are nearly 45% ahead of last year in the seven-county SoCal area just halfway into the year. And this comes as we head into the 4th of July weekend, which is traditionally one of the most dangerous times of year for area bike riders; last year seven cyclists were killed within a week of Independence Day.

One death is one too many; 42 in just six months is an obscenity.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Lucia Ruano and her family. 

Thanks to Zak and Walter Lars for the heads-up.

Update: Call this one a homicide. 

According to the Press-Enterprise, CHP officers arrested the driver, 40-year old Lake Elsinore resident Jay Dustin Sorrell, an hour after the collision for investigation of drunken driving and gross vehicular manslaughter.

According to authorities, Sorrell allowed his truck to drift onto the right shoulder, where he hit Ruano’s bike at around 40 mph, killing her. 

Yes, he was too drunk to drive at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. 

And now an innocent woman is dead because of it.

38-year old cyclist killed in Palm Springs

Evidently, we couldn’t escape November without another cycling fatality after all.

Details are still sparse, but The Desert Sun reports that 38-year old La Quinta resident Corey Holley was hit by a car at South Palm Canyon Drive at Avenida Palmera in Palm Springs at 9:07 pm Friday.

According to the paper, Holley was in the right lane when he was struck by a southbound Ford Thunderbird. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:20 pm.

The driver remained at the scene and cooperated with investigators; drug or alcohol use is not suspected to have been a factor.

No other details are available at this time.

There’s no word on whether Holley was riding with or against traffic, or if he may have been crossing the roadway when he was hit. And no information on how he was dressed or whether he was using lights after dark.

There’s also no mention of whether the driver may have been speeding, using a hand-held cell phone, or been otherwise distracted or driving carelessly in some way.

All we know is that a rider who should have been visible to those around him evidently wasn’t, for whatever reason.

And now a man is dead because of it.

This is the 69th bicycling fatality in the seven-county Southern California region this year, one behind the total of 70 for all of last year. It’s also the 12th cycling fatality in Riverside County, which is one more than last year.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Holley and all his loved ones.

Update — 20-year old cyclist killed in Buena Park; cyclist injured in Culver City

More bad news from Orange County.

According to the Orange County Register, a 20-year old man was hit by a vehicle while riding his bike at the intersection of Knott and La Palma Avenues in Buena Park around 6 pm Monday. The rider, who has not been publicly identified, was pronounced dead at UCI Medical Center in Orange.

The driver was taken to West Anaheim Medical Center with undisclosed minor injuries. He was not identified other than as a man in his 40s; no description was given of the vehicle involved, or how the collision occurred.

The Register reports that alcohol was not believed to have been a factor, and police are investigating who had the right-of-way.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Buena Park Police traffic bureau at 714/562-3940.

This is the 67th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 12th in Orange County, just one behind the total for all of last year. It’s also the second bicycling death in Buena Park this year.

My deepest condolences and prayers for the victim and his family.

Update: A post on SoCal Trail Riders identifies the victim as Jeremy Kidder, a former employee of Buena Park Bicycles, and a sometimes employee of Fullerton Bicycles.

Update 2: The Orange County Register confirms the victim was 20-year old Jeremy Kidder of Buena Park. The paper reports he was hit by a Chevy SUV while crossing near the crosswalk; no word on what direction he was going or how the collision occurred. Police say there are conflicting witness accounts. 


Culver City Patch reports that a cyclist was hit by a car at the corner of Washington Place and Sawtelle Blvd in Culver City around 4:45 pm Monday.

According to police, witnesses said the cyclist, who was not publicly identified, ran the red light; he was taken to UCLA Medical Center.

No other information is available at this time.

Update: Another month, another cycling fatality — bike rider killed in Lake Elsinore area

That didn’t take long.

After an exceptionally deadly month of July, in which 13 SoCal cyclists lost their lives, yet another rider was killed on the very first day of August.

According to the Southwest Riverside News Network, the victim was hit by a pickup at approximately 4:50 pm on Grand Avenue near the intersection with Blackwell Blvd in Lakeland Village.

The Lake-Elsinore-Wildomar Patch reports that witnesses saw the rider enter traffic quickly, leaving no time for the driver to respond before the collision.

A satellite view shows an uncontrolled intersection on Grand, with stops signs on Blackwell. However, there’s no indication whether either party may have entered from the side street, or who may have had the right-of-way.

A man who lived nearby heard the impact, but didn’t hear the sound of brakes prior to the collision. He ran out and called 911, then knelt down and put his hand on the victim’s chest, reportedly feeling a heartbeat but no breathing. Paramedics declared the man dead at the scene.

Patch reports the cause of the crash is under investigation; the victim has not been publicly identified.

A photo on the Patch site shows a badly mangled road bike with panniers and what appears to be a cooler on the back rack, suggesting he may have been riding home from work at the time of the collision.

This collision also occurred at the same intersection as another fatal bike collision in 2010.

This is the 43rd traffic-related bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh in Riverside County.

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

Update: The victim has been identified as 46-year old Harry Dettloff of Lake Elsinore. The NC Times says he was hit while crossing Grand Avenue just north of Baldwin, and puts the time of death as 5:08 pm.

Update 2: According to the Press-Enterprise, Dettloff was riding with traffic on the west shoulder of Grand Avenue when a Nissan Frontier truck driven by 60-year old Patrick Wattson of Wildomar struck him from behind at around 40 mph.

A CHP spokesman said the truck drifted off the road because Wattson was “momentarily inattentive.” The officer also notes that Dettloff wasn’t wearing a helmet, though it’s not clear how much benefit a helmet would have provided in a collision at that speed.

Now a man is dead because a driver couldn’t manage to pay attention while operating a two-ton truck.

But hey, it was just an accident, right?

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