Word is just coming in that someone has been killed while riding a bicycle in Rancho Palos Verdes.
Very few details are available at this time.
However, KNBC-4 reports the victim was struck by a moving truck on Vallon Drive near Hawthorne Boulevard around 2:50 pm this afternoon; presumably they mean a truck for a moving company, rather than one in motion.
According to the station, sheriff’s deputies believe the truck, which KCBS-2 identifies as a big rig, was making a right turn off an undisclosed side street when it struck the rider.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. No other information is available at this time.
A satellite view shows Vallon as a narrow, winding residential road; Via la Cresta is the only cross street that enters it, just above Hawthorne, though Vallon connects with Marne Drive just below Hawthorne.
This is the 24th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the 6th in Los Angeles County.
Update 2: KNBC-4 changes the location once again, writing that the collision took place at Hawthorne and Vallon.
According to a sheriff’s spokesperson, the victim was riding down the hill on Hawthorne at a high rate of speed, estimated at 45 mph. The driver of a Mayflower truck turned right onto Hawthorne in front of the cyclist, who was unable to stop at that speed.
The driver continued on, reportedly having no idea the rider had collided with his truck.
However, if the rider was really going that fast, he would have hit with a significant amount of force, making it seem odd that the driver failed to notice.
Regardless, sheriff’s deputies concluded that the driver didn’t break the law, and everything he did was “legal at the time.”
Update 3: In their report from the scene, which I was unable to view last night, KNBC-4 reports the truck was stopped at the red light headed west on Hawthorne, and made a wide turn onto Vallon when the light turned green.
The victim, who still hasn’t been publicly identified, apparently rounded a blind curve on westbound Hawthorne while descending at a high rate of speed; unable to stop, he slammed into the side or rear of the truck.
The driver continued on, dragging the bicycle roughly 200 feet up Vallon before finally coming to a stop.
There’s no way to know if the victim would have had a chance if the driver had stopped after the initial collision.
Update 4: The victim has been identified as 29-year old Redondo Beach resident Pissanuk Jonathan Tansavatdi. Thanks to Martin Blount for the heads-up.
Meanwhile, Blount forwards a video showing the descent on Hawthorne Blvd. The intersection at Vallon comes into view at the 1:30 mark, with the riders passing through at 49 mph, giving credence to the police theory that Tansavatdi may have hit the truck at 45 mph.
Update 5: I’ve heard from a relative of Tansavatdi, who described him as sunny, cheerful, handsome, talented engineer, and a friend to many.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the victim and his or her loved ones.
Thanks to Richard Masoner for the heads-up.