Please make it stop.
Just one day after reporting on two bicycling deaths in Southern California, another man was killed riding in Desert Hot Springs sometime overnight.
And no, the coward behind the wheel didn’t bother to stick around. Or even call for help.
According to the Desert Sun, the victim was found lying next to his mangled bicycle around 5:45 this morning on Two Bunch Palms Trail near Cholla Drive in Desert Hot Springs. However, police were unsure on exactly when or where the crash occurred.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
There’s no description yet of the suspect or the vehicle. There’s also no word on whether the victim had lights on his bike, or what kind of bike he was riding.
He was found lying in the eastbound lane on the lightly traveled road, leading a bicyclist passing by the crash scene to note that drivers can be blinded by the rising sun, which came up at 5:42 this morning — about the time his body was discovered.
With little traffic at that early hour, it’s likely the driver could have easily exceeded the posted 45 mph speed limit on the straight, unbroken roadway.
Anyone with information is urged to contact Palm Desert Police Officer Chris James at 760/329-2904, ext. 351, or the PDPD watch commander at 760/329-2904, ext. 302.
This is at least the 30th bicycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the seventh that I’m aware of in Riverside County.
It’s also the fifth bicycling death in the county in the past 30 days.
Update: The Desert Sun has updated their story to indicate the victim was a 43-year old man, though he still hasn’t been publicly identified.
Police are looking for a maroon 2006-2009 Lexus IS250 sedan, last seen heading west on Two Bunch Palms Trail. Which would suggest that driver was headed away from the rising sun, not towards it.
Investigators determined that the victim was riding in the middle of the roadway, though they don’t know which way he was going.
Presumably, they mean in the middle of the lane, rather than down the center line. However, with no shoulder on either side, there’s nowhere else to ride without hugging the edge of the road.
It’s also important to note that it can be difficult, if not impossible, to determine the exact point of impact in bicycle collisions; police often rely on where the victim’s body and bicycle landed, which can have little or no relation to where they were hit.
Update 2: The victim has been identified as 43-year old Palm Springs resident Christopher Jones. Police now place the time of the crash as around 5:30 am.
Update 3: Police arrested 31-year old Yesenia Bibriesca of Desert Hot Springs on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, after finding the Lexus believed to have been used in the crime.
She’s been released on $75,000 bail.
My deepest sympathy and prayers for the Christopher Jones and his loved ones.
Thanks to Victor Bale and Phillip Young for the heads-up.