For the second time in three days, an LA County bike rider has been killed by a hit-and-run driver.
And this time, it may have been intentional.
According to multiple sources, two men were either riding or walking their bikes across Long Beach Boulevard in the crosswalk at Bort Street in Long Beach around 1:20 a.m.
Depending on the source, one or both were then struck by the driver of an SUV headed south on Long Beach.
One of the men somehow ended up on the hood of the Ford SUV, and was carried several blocks before being thrown off by the fleeing driver.
He was severely injured, and died at scene after police arrived.
The other rider suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene.
KTLA-5 reports the driver circled the block once before abandoning his car and fleeing on foot. They also say police believe they know the identity of the driver, but have not yet made an arrest.
That is contradicted by a story in the Press-Telegram, which says authorities have the vehicle, but don’t yet know who was behind the wheel or have a description of the suspect.
KTLA also places the actual site of the wreck several blocks away at the Long Beach Boulevard offramp of the 91 Freeway, saying Bout was where the victim was thrown off and landed in the street.
There is also some dispute over how the victim ended up on the SUV.
Most reports indicate he either landed on the hood as a result of the crash, or jumped onto it in an attempt to stop the driver from getting away.
However, according to KTLA,
The second cyclist then jumped on the driver’s side running board of the SUV, reached into the window and tried to turn off the ignition before the driver took off with the man clinging to the side of the vehicle, a Long Beach police news release stated.
Earlier, Watt said the bicyclist jumped on the hood before police released additional information about the incident.
Either way, the driver had to know the victim was on his vehicle, and made a conscious decision to flee with the victim clinging to his SUV, resulting in the rider’s death.
Which means he should face a charge of vehicular homicide once he’s caught. If not 2nd degree murder.
This is the 35th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 16th in Los Angeles County. It’s also at least the 12th bicycling death in Long Beach since 2010.
Update: The LA Times has confirmed the details of the KTLA report.
According to them, the SUV struck one of the victims at the Long Beach Blvd offramp.
The other rider, who was not hit, jumped on the running board of the SUV, and hit his head on a curb when he was thrown from the vehicle as the driver made a sharp right onto Bort.
The victim has been identified only as a 51-year old man.
This is a reminder that it’s not worth your life to stop a fleeing driver.
Gather all the details you can — make, model, color, license and a description of the driver — as well as photos or video, if possible. Then get out of the way and let the police deal with it.
Anyone with information is urged to LBPD Det. Brian Watt at 562/570-7355.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for Odie Ervin and all his loved ones.
Thanks to James Johnson, John McBrearty, and Mike Wilkinson for the heads-up.