Tag Archive for Lake Forest

Update: Bike-riding mom killed Sunday in apparent collateral damage crash in Lake Forest

This news from this past weekend just keeps getting worse.

Longtime Orange County bike advocate Bill Sellin has forwarded news that a woman was killed while riding her bike in Lake Forest Sunday morning, apparently the victim of an out-of-control driver.

While the initial reports appeared on Nextdoor, which is not always the most reliable source, the Orange County Sheriff’s department confirms a crash occurred just before 8 am on El Toro Road at Normandale Drive.

Sellin confirmed with Lake Forest officials that the victim of the crash was killed.

Meanwhile, a woman identifying herself as the victim’s daughter reports that the crash occurred when a driver apparently lost control, jumping a curb and hitting a light pole on one side of the street, then ricocheting across the street to hit the victim before crashing into another light pole on the opposite side of the street.

All of which implies the driver may have been traveling at an extreme rate of speed, even given the irrational 55 mph speed limit on the roadway.

Photos from the scene taken from Nextdoor show the mangled bike resting on the sidewalk in front of the smashed pickup; Sellin reports the location of the victim’s body was marked in front of her bike.

There’s no word on the victim’s name or age, though we can surmise her last name from her daughter’s post.

A person identifying themselves as her neighbor reports the victim was a mother of three.

There has been nothing in the news yet, and no official confirmation from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, which patrols Lake Forest, or the Coroner’s office; unfortunately, the OC Coroner no longer posts death notices online.

This is at least the 19th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fourth that I’m aware of in Orange County.

Update: The victim’s daughter has identified her as Sara Wheaton; sadly, she turned 49 the day she died. 

According to the daughter, Wheaton’s body was thrown 20 feet from her bike by the force of the impact. And neighbors who heard the crash don’t recall the sound of braking. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Sara Wheaton and all her family and loved ones. 

Thanks to Bill Sellin for doing all the legwork and tracking down the information for this story. 

Update: 42-year old woman killed in Lake Forest bicycling crash; 15th Orange County bike rider killed this year, equalling LA County

A 42-year old woman was killed riding a bike in Lake Forest Sunday afternoon, just hours after another Orange County bike rider lost his life.

According to the Orange County Register, Orange resident Hanna Tran was somehow struck by a motorist around 4 pm at Santiago Canyon Road and Modjeska Grade Road.

She was taken to Mission Hospital, where she was pronounced dead an hour later.

Once again, there is no word on how the crash happened. And the only mention of the driver is that he or she remained at the scene.

Orange County sheriff’s investigators report that there’s no evidence either the victim or the driver was under the influence; however, the investigation is ongoing.

The crash occurred just two and a half hours, and 32 miles away, from where Ho Cheong was killed riding his bike in La Palma.

This is at least the 58th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 15th that I’m aware of in Orange County.

That equals the total in LA County, with over three times the population.

Update: The Orange County Bicycle Coalition reports that Tran may have been killed as a result of road work on Santiago Canyon, which had greatly reduced lanes on the popular riding route, without any provision to keep bicyclists safe during the construction. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Hanna Tran and his loved ones.

Thanks to Bill Sellin and Victor Bale for the update.

Killer hit-and-run driver who hid in bushes faces six years; swift justice in Monrovia

The bike justice beat goes on.

It wasn’t that long ago that drivers who killed or maimed cyclists seemed to drive off with barely a slap on the wrist. But lately, there seems to be a steady drumbeat of convictions, even if some drivers still get off far too easy.

Maybe that speaks to the pressure we’ve been applying in our demands for justice.

Or maybe it just speaks to the unacceptably high number of serious cycling cases currently clogging the courts. Or the sheer idiocity of those behind the wheel.

Case in point, Julianne Elyse Thompson was convicted after pleading guilty in a bizarre case in which she ran down and killed 64-year old Arthur John Jacobs in Carlsbad. Then fled the scene at high speed, only to be discovered hiding in the bushes across from an apartment complex where she’d abandoned her car.

Thompson plead guilty to charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and hit-and-run causing death. Her blood alcohol level was measured at 0.25 after her arrest — over three times the legal limit, and approaching the level that can cause death.

She is expected to be sentenced to a well-deserved six years in state prison.


In a case of remarkably swift justice, a driver has already been convicted in a Monrovia hit-and-run that occurred just this past Monday.

Yes, Monday.

Jason Travers was arrested about an hour after a 5:42 pm hit-and-run that left a cyclist with non-life threatening injuries. The 25-year old rider, identified as Paul Tetu, was hit from behind while attempting to make a left turn, and thrown 20 feet through the air.

In a sign of the sheer stupidity demonstrated by some drivers — especially those foolish enough to flee the scene of a collision — Travers called police to report he may have been in a collision, after apparently seeing the story on the news. But swore he wasn’t the one who hit the cyclist.

Needless to say, police investigators found evidence connecting him to the crime. Which they may never have found if Travers hadn’t attempted to craft a case of implausible deniability.

He showed much better judgement at his arraignment on Wednesday, entering a plea of No Contest to the hit-and-run charge; sentencing will take place next month.


Finally, Orange County deputies stopped cars in an effort to find the hit-and-run killer of Randy Isaacs, as his family pleads for justice.

Isaacs was killed after putting his children to bed at his parents house, while riding his son’s bike a few blocks to the room he was renting after separating from his wife.