Tag Archive for Rancho Palos Verdes

Update: Bike rider killed by moving truck in Rancho Palos Verdes

Ghost bike for Jonathan Tansavatdi; photo by Jim Lyle

Ghost bike for Jonathan Tansavatdi; photo by Jim Lyle

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: The Daily Breeze confirms the collision occurred at Vallon and Via la Cresta.

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. 

Road raging driver mows down cyclist in Palos Verdes

The bike is dead. Fortunately, its rider isn’t.

The Daily Breeze is reporting that a road raging driver deliberately ran down a bicyclist before slamming into a series of cars.

According to the paper, Palos Verdes Estates resident Doug Castile was riding on Via Pacheco around 6:30 pm when he was Jerry Browned by a driver who sideswiped him, then backed up and hit him again when he complained.

Castile said he yelled, “Hey, you just hit me!” The driver of the black car then put it in reverse, backed up behind the bicyclist, pulled forward and pushed the bicyclist into the plants.

“The guy put it in reverse again, backed up, and ran over my bike,” Castile said. “At that point, my feet are clipped in the pedals on my bike. I unclipped my feet and jumped off the bike into the plants and he’s running over my bicycle back and forth.”

The driver, who wasn’t identified in the story, reacted bizarrely when Castile reached reached into his pocket for his cell phone.

“He says, ‘What are you reaching for, a gun?’ It just was so odd to hear that statement. I took my hand out of my pocket. I thought this guy is capable of anything,” Castile said.

At that point, the driver sped off, slamming into an unknown number of parked and moving vehicle before his car finally became disabled on Ganado Drive and Sheriff’s deputies made an arrest.

Castile was able to escape with scrapes, while his $3,000 to $4,000 bike was destroyed.

The paper says police were unsure whether the driver was suffering from a mental condition or committed a deliberate assault.

Unfortunately, anyone can buy a car and get a license, regardless of mental or emotional stability. And in the wrong hands, it can become a weapon.

As we have seen too many times before.

Thanks to Jim Lyle for the heads-up.

Update: The Daily Breeze identifies the driver as 65-year old William Thomas Kelly of Torrance. He’s being held on $30,000 bond on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon; hopefully, more charges — and a much higher bail — will follow soon. 

It’s also worth noting that deputies found Kelly unconscious in his car after it rammed the gates to an FAA facility, which could lead to federal charges. According to the paper, officer’s smelled alcohol on his breath when he was taken into custody — which could make this the fourth time he’s charged with DUI since 1991.

And yet he was still allowed behind the wheel to threaten the lives and safety of others.

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