Sus­pect in fa­tal hit-run is ar­rested

Los Angeles Times - - LOS ANGELES - By Joseph Serna joseph.serna@latimes.com

Los An­ge­les po­lice have ar­rested a sus­pect in the hi­tand-run death of a bi­cy­clist in High­land Park, author­i­ties said.

“A citizen came out and iden­ti­fied this in­di­vid­ual,” said LAPD Of­fi­cer Jack Richter.

The col­li­sion oc­curred about 3 a.m. Fri­day as the bi­cy­clist rode in a marked cross­walk at North Figueroa Street and Marmion Way, po­lice said. In­ves­ti­ga­tors told KTLA the driver ap­peared to be trav­el­ing faster than 80 mph when he struck the cy­clist.

The vic­tim was dragged more than 400 feet, author­i­ties said.

Within hours po­lice had put out a call for help from the public: Any­one who had seen a dark-col­ored sedan with ma­jor front-end dam­age, in­clud­ing a miss­ing bumper, was urged to call author­i­ties.

A tip came in that led to an ar­rest on Fri­day, Richter said.

The county coro­ner said the vic­tim was a 33-year-old man. His iden­tity would be re­leased af­ter his fam­ily was no­ti­fied.

The col­li­sion oc­curred on a stretch of Figueroa that city of­fi­cials had long tar­geted for bi­cy­cle lanes un­til last sum­mer, when Coun­cil­man Gil Cedillo an­nounced he was stop­ping the pro­ject be­cause of con­cerns over los­ing a ve­hi­cle lane.

Cedillo was con­cerned that change would af­fect re­sponse times for emer­gency ve­hi­cles — a long­time is­sue in Los An­ge­les.

On Figueroa, a Times re­view of ac­ci­dent data from 2002 to 2012 found 68 car-ver­sus-bi­cy­cle col­li­sions be­tween Av­enue 26 and York Boule­vard — three of them re­sult­ing in se­vere in­juries. The data show that 153 in­ci­dents took place be­tween cars and pedes­tri­ans dur­ing the same pe­riod, in­clud­ing nine that re­sulted in death.

Hit-and-run col­li­sions in­volv­ing bi­cy­clists in Los An­ge­les County surged 42% from 2002 to 2012, ac­cord­ing to a Times anal­y­sis of Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol crash data. That in­crease came as the over­all num­ber of hi­tand-runs in­volv­ing cars, cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans dropped by 30%. From 2002 to 2012, the most re­cent data avail­able, more than 5,600 cy­clists were in­jured and at least 36 died in crashes in which driv­ers fled.

“I am sick­ened by the deadly hit-and-run this morn­ing in High­land Park and want to re­mind the media and all res­i­dents that there is a stand­ing re­ward for all hit-and-run crimes in Los An­ge­les,” Coun­cil­man Joe Bus­caino said Fri­day be­fore the ar­rest. “Our city has an epi­demic of hit-and-runs, and the only way we can change this is to speak up.”

The Los An­ge­les Po­lice Depart­ment closed one in five hit-and-run cases from 2008 to 2012, ac­cord­ing to data the depart­ment re­ported last year to the Board of Po­lice Com­mis­sion­ers. Less than half those cases were closed through an ar­rest.

Al Seib Los An­ge­les Times

LAPD OF­FI­CERS at Figueroa Street and Marmion Way, where a bi­cy­clist was fa­tally struck by a car.

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