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.