Tag Archive for Chatsworth

Update — man and woman killed riding bikes in Chatsworth hit-and-run, first SoCal bike deaths this year

News is just coming in that two people on bicycles have been killed by a hit-and-run driver earlier this evening.

According to KCBS-2, the victims were riding on the 9500 block of North Lurline Ave in Chatsworth when they were struck by the driver of a Toyota Tacoma pickup around 7:15 Tuesday night.

Both victims died at the scene.

Neither has been identified at this time, though the station says they’re believed to be transients. Which should not lessen the tragedy in any way.

The truck was found nearby, and the driver taken into police custody.

Unfortunately, no additional information is available at this time.

This appears to be the first two bicycling fatalities in Southern California this year, as well as the first in Los Angeles County.

Update: KABC-7 reports the victims are a man and a woman, while placing the location at Independence Ave & Knapp Street in Los Angeles, which is nearly a mile away from the original site

However, it’s possible that they may be referring to where the driver crashed into a wall while attempting to get away, after striking several other vehicles. 

According to the LA Times, the driver came to a halt at the corner of De Soto Ave and Knapp Street, which is less than a quarter mile from the location cited by KABC.

KABC also reports the driver may face a murder charge, which would suggest he — or she — may have been under the influence, and possibly a repeat offender.

Update 2: KNBC-4 reports the male victim was identified by his son as 58-year-old Canoga Park resident Matthew Zink; he was riding with a female friend, who was pregnant. 

Which means that three lives were needless snuffed out in a single moment. 

Update 3: KCBS-2 has identified the second victim as 37-year old Ana Hernandez.

Meanwhile, the driver has been identified as 58-year old Nelson Rodriguez. He is currently being held on $4 million bond, with arraignment scheduled for next Tuesday on two counts of felony murder, and a single misdemeanor charge of hit-and-run resulting in property damage. 

There’s no word on why he’s not being charged with felony hit-and-run for fleeing the scene after the murders. Or why he is being charged with murder, which usually requires an intentional act or driving under the influence after a previous DUI conviction. 

A pair of ghost bikes were installed for Hernandez and Zink Thursday night. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Ana Hernandez and Matthew Zink, and all their loved ones.

Bicyclist killed in Chatsworth after allegedly running red light

Just when it looked like we might get out of the 4th of July holiday weekend relatively unscathed, word comes that a bike rider was killed in Chatsworth last night.

The LA Daily News is reporting that 47-year old Chatsworth resident Samuel Martinez was riding west on Lassen Street at Topanga Canyon Blvd around 11:40 pm when he was struck by a Chevy Silverado pickup headed north on Topanga; he was pronounced at the scene.

A police spokesperson reports that Martinez went through the red light, making him responsible for the collision. And serving as a reminder why bicyclists — and everyone else on the roads — need to stop for traffic signals.

If you blow through a red light or stop sign, you’re likely to be held at fault for whatever might happen as a result. Regardless of what anyone else on the road may have done to contribute to the collision.

Which means that you could end up being the one ticketed for the collision. And that you, or your heirs, will be unlikely to receive any settlement as a result.

There is no mention of whether Martinez’ actions were confirmed by independent witnesses, however.

It’s a common problem that cyclists who are killed or seriously injured can’t present their side of the story, while the drivers who hit them understandably have an inherent interest in painting their actions in the best possible light. Unless someone other than the driver actually saw the collision, police should view driver’s statements regarding the actions of the victim critically.

Too often, they don’t.

It’s also possible that the light may have changed as Martinez was entering the intersection, leaving him unable to stop in time to avoid going through the red light or avoid the collision.

That is not to say Martinez didn’t simply blow through the light.

Just that such statements should be taken with a grain of salt if there are no corroborating witnesses.

Or sometimes, even if there are.

This is the 45th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 21st in Los Angeles County. Alarmingly, it’s also the seventh death of a bike rider in the City of Los Angeles since the first of the year — far surpassing the total for each of the last two years.

And this year is barely half over.

My sympathy and prayers for Samuel Martinez and all his family and friends.

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