A bad month for SoCal cyclists just got that much worse when a cyclist was killed in a Huntington Beach hit-and-run late this morning.
According to the Orange County Register, the collision occurred around 11:40 Friday morning on northbound PCH between Seapoint Street and Warner Avenue. The rider, who has been identified only as an adult male, was pronounced dead at the scene.
No details on how the crash occurred are available at this time. However, a commenter on the Register story says they heard the impact, and turned to see the rider flying through the air and skidding over 100 feet, suggesting a high speed hit-from behind collision.
Satellite photos show a long stretch of roadway with only limited access, while the street view reveals a marked shoulder next to a four lane highway, with a 60 mph speed limit. It’s possible the driver may have drifted onto the shoulder, or the cyclist could have been forced into the traffic lane by a parked car or some other obstruction.
But we won’t know until additional information becomes available.
The good news — if there can be good news in a story like this — is that a suspect was arrested about an hour later in nearby Seal Beach.
According to KTLA-5, a man lost control of a 2011 Hyundai and crashed on Westminster Blvd between Bolsa Chica and Seal Beach Blvds. Police investigating the collision discovered the car matched the description of the suspect vehicle in the hit-and-run, and took the driver into custody.
However, KCBS-2 says police were following the suspect by helicopter, and arrested the driver when he ran off the road.
This is the 27th cycling fatality in Southern California this year, and the fifth in Orange County. The cyclist was also the sixth SoCal rider killed by hit-and-run since the first of the year, and the seventh to die this month.
My prayers for the victim, and all his family and loved ones.
Thanks to Lois, David Huntsman and Weshigh for the heads-up.
Update: KTLA-5 has identified the victim as 63-year old Roger Michael Lippman of Huntington Beach, listed as a rider in last year’s Palm Desert and Stagecoach Centuries.
KNBC-4 confirms that the driver hit Lippman from behind; aerial video shows Lippman’s body covered by a tarp on the right shoulder next to his crumpled bike. The web version of the story shows the bloodied face of the suspect driver, while the embedded video shows the crumpled front end and shattered windshield of the car he was driving, which was registered to a 59-year old Anaheim woman.
Meanwhile, the Times identifies the driver as 27-year old Joel Alexander Murphy of Mission Viejo. A comment from reliable source TQ reports that Murphy has been booked on suspicion of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence resulting in great bodily injury, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and violating probation for prior drug offenses, including DUI, dating back to 2005.
And yet, despite all that, he was still behind the wheel.
I’ve also seen unconfirmed reports that Murphy was racing another vehicle at speeds up to 80 mph when he ran off the road and
murdered hit Lippman.
Hopefully, this will be the last time he’s ever allowed to operate a motor vehicle.