Tag Archive for North Hills

Street racing drivers walk in death of bike rider, video of fatal North Hills hit-and-run, and killer Lambo driver’s dad says sorry

Apparently, life is still cheap in the Inland Empire.

It was nearly eleven years ago that Jorge Alvarado was fatally run down in San Bernardino County by a teenager who was allegedly street racing.

Sadly, the life of a Mexican immigrant who came to this country to fulfill his dream of becoming a pro cyclist didn’t seem to matter compared to that of the politically connected high school student who ended his.

His killer got away with just 90 days behind bars, and went on to play college soccer, thanks to a judge and DA who didn’t seem to want to jeopardize a promising young life just because he carelessly snuffed out another.

Now another judge, in nearby Riverside County, said hold my beer, and let a second pair of killer road-racing drivers walk without a single day behind bars.

According to KESQ-3 — and an identical story on Patch — Luis Armando Castaneda and Alex Isidro Quiroz pled guilty to a single count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence in the death of popular Coachella Valley bicyclist William Campbell in 2018.

The drivers, both in their early 20s, were allegedly street racing when Quiroz swerved into the Cathedral City bike lane Campbell was riding in, sending him cartwheeling 150 feet through the air in what was initially reported as a case of road rage.

Never mind that neither driver seemed to think the crash was worth sticking around for afterwards.

For reasons known only to them, Riverside County prosecutors alleged it was a case of hit-and-run, but never bothered to file the appropriate charges for fleeing the scene.

Which allowed both men to walk with just two years probation and 180 days work release, courtesy of an overly lenient judge.

But at least they won’t be allowed to drive for those two years.

And in a case of poetic, if not actual, justice, they’ll have to complete 180 hours of community service building bike paths in the Coachella Valley.

None of which will bring Campbell back to his friends and loved ones.

And all of which should serve as a warning to bike riders not to expect anything resembling justice in the Inland Empire.

Thanks to Victor Bale and Phillip Young for the heads-up.

………

The LAPD released security cam video of the hit-and-run crash that took the life of an unhoused LA resident riding his bike in North Hills early Saturday morning.

Israel Ovando Vera was riding in a crosswalk at Sepulveda and Roscoe Blvds when he was run down by the driver of a 2007-2011 Toyota Camry at 4:20 am.

The video shows him crossing with the light, with his killer appearing to turn left off Sepulveda directly into him, then continuing on without stopping.

Regardless of what investigators originally implied about Vera possibly riding the wrong way, he clearly rode off the sidewalk into the crosswalk.

And there’s no right or wrong way on either one.

The actual impact on this video is hidden by a car stopped waiting for the light. But as always, be sure you really want to see it before you click play.

………

On Tuesday, we reposted a comment from a Reddit user accusing a wealthy father of using his money and influence to protect his Lamborghini-driving son, who was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed when he slammed into a woman’s car in LA’s Westwood neighborhood last month.

Today, we finally heard from the boy’s father.

Thirty-two-year old Monique Munoz died when her car was totaled by the 17-year old driver; her father questioned why anyone would trust someone so young with a sports car capable of doing 190 mph.

The teen was arrested on on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter six days after the collision, but he has yet to be charged in the case.

His father, James Khuri, released this statement on Instagram yesterday.

“I am aware that the time it has taken me to communicate this has caused further pain for everyone affected. Knowing that this will never do justice for the family of Monique Munoz, I want to apologize to the Munoz family for the tragic loss of their daughter. There are no words I can say to alleviate the pain that you are experiencing. And I realize none of my words or actions will be able to bring back your daughter.

Still, I want to offer my support in any way you will allow me to. My family and I pray for the Munoz family.”

He certainly said the right things. But what happens next will tell how sincere he really is.

Thanks to Keith Johnson for the tip.

………

This is who we share the road with.

Many Angelenos watched in horror on Tuesday — myself included — as a rampaging driver attempted to evade police while deliberately smashing into other freeway drivers in a vain attempt to escape capture.

Making matters worse, after an hours-long standoff in which sheriff’s deputies fired numerous pepper balls into the car, a door finally opened, only to see the woman’s nine-year old daughter ran to the safety of a deputy deployed nearby.

Which raises the question of what kind of mother would do any of that with her child in the car, let alone what kind of driver.

Thanks to Larry Kawalec for the link.

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Stop wasting parking lots on cars.

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Why settle for a Slow Street when it can be an art exhibit, too?

https://twitter.com/sfchronicle/status/1368108868967006208

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Nope. No one’s whispered a word of this in the followup to Megan and Harry’s little confab with Oprah.

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Sometimes, it’s the people on two wheels behaving badly.

A British man complains about “brainless” bicyclists riding through the supposedly bike-free town center after experiencing a couple of near misses.

A woman from the UK complains about antisocial and unempathetic behavior from bicyclists after she was thrown from her horse when it was struck by a group of trail riders, causing the animal to leap over a hedge and a barbed wire fence.

………

Local

The Wilshire Center Koreatown Neighborhood Council will discuss a proposal for a pedestrian plaza on 6th Street between Normandie and Vermont at tonight’s virtual meeting.

Santa Monica is fighting the trend of bike-banning Orange County beach cities by approving the use of ebikes on the beach bike path; the city is also requesting bids for a second shared mobility provider.

 

State

The San Diego Bike Coalition is kicking off their annual bike scavenger hunt this Saturday.

A San Diego columnist says biking to school is the traffic solution we can no longer ignore.

A Ceres columnist tells a roundabout tale of how riding his bike to rummage through people’s discarded trash led to a career in journalism.

 

National

Popular Science chips in with their recommendations on the best ways to store your bikes.

Evidently, cheap is a relative thing. Bicycling says a new aluminum frame bike from a French sporting goods store’s house brand is a “cheap, no-frills roadie.” Which is probably true, if your idea of cheap is $1,500, although some would seem to disagree. As usual, you can read it on Yahoo if Bicycling blocks you.

A Las Vegas man faces charges for the alleged drunken hit-and-run death of a 60-year old bike rider after a witness followed him to get the car’s license number.

Great idea. A Wichita Falls, Texas bike advocacy group is hosting a seed bomb ride, where participants will ride to selected locations and toss a bundle of wild flower seeds.

A Massachusetts man can thank a dog for saving his life, after he fell through the ice while trying to ride his bike across a frozen pond.

New York bike riders take matters into their own hands after getting fed up with the state of the city’s bike lanes, and organize their own clean up of one in Williamsburg.

A year after New York Mayor De Blasio told Gotham residents to walk or bike to work, the answer to what did he do to make that safer and more convenient is, not much.

More proof that Vision Zero works if you actually implement it, as the mayor of Hoboken NJ says the streets are safer for bike riders, pedestrians and motorists as a result.

Florida considers a bill that would legalize riding a bike without a seat, but only if was originally built that way.

 

International

No, don’t use standard WD40 on your bike chain.

How to keep your road kit from turning into a bio hazard.

Vancouver makes a half-hearted commitment to return the park bike lane they ripped out a year ago, but only on a temporary, popup basis.

Motor vehicle traffic and collisions plummeted in Vancouver during the early days of the pandemic, while bicycling rates soared to as many as 10,000 riders a day on popup bike lanes. Which is exactly what Los Angeles has missed out on by failing to install any.

A Dutch website explains the sometimes confusing logic behind the country’s bike friendly street designs.

The bike boom has even hit the already booming Netherlands, where bicycle sales have soared during the pandemic.

Chinese dockless bikeshare giant Hello is preparing for an American IPO, reportedly in an effort to raise a whopping $1 billion.

An aspiring ballet and opera conductor is working as a Singapore bicycle delivery rider after the pandemic forced him to temporarily set aside his musical dreams.

 

Competitive Cycling

Cycling Tips says keep an eye on 21-year old Belgian cyclist Mauri Vansevenan this season.

 

Finally…

That feeling when you buy a bike online, and the dealer says you can’t take it because you’re too fat. If you’re thinking of getting a bicycle tattoo on your chest using nipples for wheels, just…don’t.

And if a worker from a sporting goods store takes back the $4,000 bike you just stole, go back the next night and steal a $5,500 one.

And a grab a pair of helmets while you’re at it.

………

Be safe, and stay healthy. And wear a damn mask, already. 

Update: Los Angeles bike rider killed in North Hills hit-and-run; 2nd LA bike death — and 2nd LA hit-and-run — this year

It’s happened again.

Another person has been killed riding a bicycle. And yet another driver has fled the scene.

According to multiple sources, the 38-year old man, who has not been publicly identified, was fatally run down in LA’s North Hills neighborhood around 4:20 Saturday morning.

The victim was riding south in the crosswalk on Sepulveda Blvd at Roscoe Blvd when he was struck by a driver headed east on Roscoe.

He died at the scene before paramedics could arrive.

The driver continued without stopping, leaving his victim to die in the street.

There’s no word on who had the right-of-way on the signalized intersection or how fast the driver was going. Or whether the victim had the required lights and reflectors on his bike in the early morning darkness.

Police are looking for a dark-colored 2007-2011 Toyota Camry; there’s no description given for the heartless coward behind the wheel.

Anyone with information is urged to call 818/644-8022. As always, there is a standing $50,000 reward for any fatal hit-and-run in the City of Los Angeles.

This is at least the 13th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the second that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County, as well as the second in the City of LA.

Shamefully, seven of those 13 deaths have been hit-and-runs — as have both of the bicycling deaths in Los Angeles.

And if that makes you mad, it should.

Update: The victim has been identified as Israel Ovando Vera, a homeless resident of Los Angeles.

Although someone should tell the LAPD investigators that there is not right or wrong way in a crosswalk. Or on the sidewalk.

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Israel Ovando Vera and his loved ones.

Update: Bike rider killed in North Hills hit-and-run; victim struck by two drivers, second fled on foot

News is just breaking that a bike rider was killed in LA’s North Hills neighborhood Friday night.

According to KABC-7, the victim was struck by two cars around 8:30 pm at Rayen Street and Woodley Ave in North Hills; the first driver stayed at the scene, while the second reportedly abandoned his car and ran away.

The victim died after being taken to a local hospital.

In a story that hasn’t been posted online yet, KNBC-4 reports the victim was knocked off his or her bike by the first driver before getting hit by the second, who fled on foot.

Judging by the bike lanes visible in the video, the crash appears to have occurred on Woodley Ave just south of Rayen. Video from the scene shows the victim’s mangled bicycle resting on the center yellow line, with the abandoned car blocking both southbound lanes.

No other details or description of the victim are available at this time.

This is at least the 60th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 26th that I’m aware of in Los Angeles County; it’s also 12th bicyclist killed in the City of Los Angeles this year.

Update: The LA Daily News describes the victim as a 56-year old man.

According to the paper, the victim was attempting to turn left onto southbound Woodley against the light when he was struck by a southbound 21-year old driver in a Lexus.

That was confirmed by a witness who left a comment below.

The Lexus driver was attempting to make a U-turn to get back to the victim when the bike rider was run over by the second driver, who fled the scene in his or her car — not on foot as originally reported. Again, that’s confirmed by the commenter below.

The suspect vehicle is described only as a black sedan.

A ghost bike will be placed at the scene Monday night. 

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD Valley Traffic Division at 818/644-8000.

Update 2: The LA County Medical Examiner has identified the victim as 56-year old Joel Fisher. 

My deepest sympathy and prayers for Joel Fisher and his loved ones.

BOLO Alert: Bike rider critically injured in North Hills hit-and-run last month; LAPD still looking for witnesses

I’ve just received the following press release from the LAPD’s Valley Traffic Division.

Hit and Run Driver Leaves Bicyclist Severely Injured

North Hills:

A hit and run traffic collision involving a motor vehicle and bicyclist occurred on Saturday, July 23, 2016, approximately 5:00 a.m. at Parthenia Street west of Woodley Avenue, in the community of North Hills.

The vehicle was traveling westbound Parthenia Street and collided with the bicycle being ridden by James Mours, a 47 year old resident of Mission Hills. The bicyclist sustained major injuries and was transported by Los Angeles Fire Department personnel to a local hospital for medical treatment. He is still listed in very critical condition.

There is no description of the vehicle or the driver. The Los Angeles Police Department is seeking anyone who may have witnessed the collision.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Valley Traffic Division Officer M. Tucker at (818) 644-8114. The report number is 16 17 13752. During non-business hours or weekends, calls may be directed to 1-877-LAPD-24-7. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800)-222-8477). Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most key pads) using a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.” Tipsters can also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on “web tips” and follow the prompts.

Let’s get the word out and see if we can get some witnesses to come forward.

Best wishes to James Mours for a full and fast recovery.

Thanks to Officer Troy Williams for the heads-up.

 

Nordhoff hit-and-run victim identified; city to offer $50,000 reward

Two weeks after a cyclist was killed in an early morning hit-and-run on Nordhoff Street, we finally know the name of the victim.

According to a press release from the LAPD, the rider who was run down on Nordhoff Street on Friday, June 8th was 76-year old Northridge resident Paul Albert Helfen, who appears to own a number of properties in the Valley.

So let’s get this straight.

At 76, Helfen was healthy enough to be out riding at 2 am — and doing everything right, according to the police. And some coward not only runs him down, but leaves him lying there to die in the street.

Nice.

Fortunately, this city is taking this one seriously.

Friday morning — two weeks to the day after Helfen was murdered — city and police officials will announce  that the City Council has approved a $50,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the heartless SOB driver of the 2007 – 2012 Nissan Sentra that killed him.

Hit-and-Run Driver Leaves Bicyclist Dead $50,000 Reward Offered

WHAT:
Press conference to announce a $50,000 reward motion leading to the arrest and conviction of the hit and run driver who caused the death of a 76-year-old cyclist.

WHEN:
Friday, June 22, 2012, 10:15 A.M.

WHERE:
Los Angeles City Hall, John Ferraro Council Chamber
200 North Spring Street, 3rd Floor, Room 340 Los Angeles, CA 90012

WHO:
Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Council District 12
Captain Ivan Minsal, Commanding Officer, Valley Traffic Division Detective William F. Bustos, Officer-in-Charge Valley Traffic Detectives Family members of Victim Paul Albert Helfen

WHY:
To announce a $50,000 reward for information that will lead to the arrest and conviction of the hit and run driver who killed 76-year-old Paul Albert Helfen.

•Visuals will include a photograph of Mr. Helfen.

Los Angeles: The Los Angeles City Council has approved a $50,000 reward for anyone who will come forward with information that will help LAPD Valley Traffic Division Detectives solve a case of a fatal hit-and-run collision.

On Friday, June 8, 2012, at approximately 2:00 A.M., Valley Traffic officers responded to investigate a traffic collision involving a bicyclist near Nordhoff Street and Gaviota Avenue in the community of North Hills. The investigation revealed that Mr. Paul Albert Helfen, 76-years-of-age, was riding his bicycle eastbound on the south side of Nordhoff Street when he was struck from behind by a vehicle. Mr. Helfen died at the scene as a result of suffering serious injuries during the collision.

The investigation has revealed that the possible hit and run vehicle is a 2007 through 2012 Nissan Sentra. The hit and run driver fled without stopping to render aid to Mr. Helfen or to identify himself or herself in accordance with the law.

Anyone with information about this incident or the whereabouts of the driver or hit and run vehicle, are asked to contact Valley Traffic Detectives at (818) 644-8000 or (877) LAPD 24-7.

Address/Location
LAPD – VALLEY TRAFFIC DIV.
7870 Nollan Place
Panorama City, CA 91402

Contact
Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 818-644-8000

This is the highest reward I’m aware of for the hit-and-run of a Southern California cyclist.

Maybe it will be enough to bring Helfen’s killer to justice.

My deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Paul Helfen.

Thanks to Richard Risemberg and Sam Ebnet for the heads-up.

Cyclist killed in early morning North Hills hit-and-run; BOLO for dark blue SUV with front end damage

This is not the news any of us wanted to wake up to.

Numerous sources are reporting that a cyclist was killed early Friday in a North Hills hit-and-run, when a rider was hit from behind  on Nordhoff Street near Gaviota Avenue.

According to a release from the LAPD, the rider was riding eastbound near the curb when his bike was hit, throwing him onto the street and into a raised planter box in the Auto Zone parking lot; a witness report says he bounced off the SUV’s windshield.

According to both KABC-7 and KCBV-2, the victim, who has not been publicly identified, was doing everything right when he was hit.

“This bicyclist did all the right things. Unfortunately, this accident occurred. I mean, he had a helmet on, the reflective vest, the bike headlights. He was an avid bicyclist. He had all the right things on,” said Capt. Ivan Minsal with the Los Angeles Police Department.

The avid bicyclist remark appears to stem from the fact that the victim was wearing bike shorts and appeared to be riding for exercise or recreation, despite the late hour.

Descriptions of the victim vary. The L.A. Times describes him only as a 53-year old male, while KABC-7 says he was a Hispanic man in his 50s or 60s; the LAPD release describes him as a whit male in his late 60s or early 70s.

Police are looking for a dark colored, possibly dark blue, Chevy Blazer or similar mid-size SUV with front end damage, most likely with a broken windshield.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department, Valley Traffic Detectives, Detective II James Deaton #24252 at 818 644-8035 or Detective III William Bustos #25029 at 818 644-8021 during normal business hours.

Police also note that you don’t have to reveal your identity.

After-hours calls may be directed to a 24-hours, toll-free number at 1-877-LAPD-24-7 (527-3247). Callers may also text “Crimes” with a cell phone or log onto WWW.lapdonline.org and click on Web Tips. When using a cell phone, all messages should begin with “LAPD.” Tipsters may remain anonymous.

At least in this area, Nordhoff is essentially a six lane, high-speed throughway that encourages motorists to drive far above the speed limit, particularly in the late night hours when light traffic essentially allows drivers to go as fast as they want.

The new L.A. bike plan calls for bike lanes on Nordhoff, though I don’t find it on the five-year implementation plan. Hopefully, it will include a road diet to slow traffic speeds; otherwise, a simple line of paint wouldn’t do a damn thing to stop a driver who couldn’t seem to see a cyclist lit up like a Christmas tree.

And keep an eye out for an SUV that matches the description. Anyone who could do something like this and then heartlessly run away like the coward he or she is belongs behind bars.

This is the 23rd cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 7th in Los Angeles County; it’s the first bicycling death in the City of Los Angeles in 2012. This is also the fourth bike-related fatal hit-and-run in the seven county SoCal region this year.

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

Thanks to LAPD Deputy Chief Jorge Villegas for the heads-up.

Update: The LAPD has identified the victim as 76-year old Northridge resident Paul Albert Helfen; a $50,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and conviction of his killer.

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