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.