Huntington Beach police are searching for a motorist who they say intentionally struck cyclists in three separate incidents that occurred within an hour Sunday evening. Two riders were injured and the third was killed.
All three incidents occurred in Huntington Beach, in an area bordered by Heil Avenue, Edwards Street, Warner Avenue and Springdale Street.
Police are searching for the unidentified driver of a black, four-door Toyota sedan whose passenger-side front bumper was damaged, according to testimony.
“We believe the incidents are related because the three locations are close to each other and also based on victim and witness statements,” said Jessica Cuchilla, a Huntington Beach police spokeswoman. “They all described a similar vehicle.”
The first attack reportedly took place at 10 p.m. A cyclist was struck while cycling through the crosswalk at Warner Avenue and Edwards Street. The driver fled and the cyclist was slightly injured.
A half hour later, police received a call about another hit-and-run involving a cyclist, this one at Brad Drive and Edwards Street. The motorcyclist involved in the second incident said he was intentionally hit by a driver who fled the scene. The cyclist suffered minor injuries, police said, and was treated at the scene and left.
While officers were investigating this incident, another was reported within about 15 minutes.
The motorist, during this incident, killed the motorcyclist, according to police.
Around 10:45 p.m., Huntington Beach Police received a call about a seriously injured cyclist at Heil Avenue and Springdale Street. Efforts by paramedics to resuscitate the injured man were unsuccessful and he died instantly.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Department coroner was in the process of contacting the family of the slain bicyclist Monday afternoon. His identity has not been revealed.
All three victims were men, according to Cuchilla, and they were riding alone.
The news was “devastating but not surprising” for Mario Obejas, 64.
The Torrance cyclist is vice president of the Beach Cities Cycling Club. The South Bay organization has about 250 runners of all levels.
Obejas said attacks from “road rage drivers” were all too common.
“There are drivers who feel a lot of anger when they go out and are looking to lash out at someone,” he said. “Unfortunately, we are often the target.”
Obejas said he nearly went off the road six months ago during a group ride on the Palos Verdes Peninsula with 40 cyclists. A truck driver yelled at the group of runners, referencing his hatred of President Biden, an avid cyclist, and nearly hit Obejas.
“He kept yelling, ‘Biden sucks and you suck’ — and, man, we’re just a bunch of people in our 50s and 60s going for a ride,” Obejas said. “It’s scary sometimes.”
The group began carrying portable cameras, Cycliq models, while traveling three years ago after a hit-and-run injured a member in Venice. Obejas also suggests riding in groups to reduce the risk of being hit.
“The camera is really important because it’s not a thing he said, she said,” Obejas said. “It’s about having footage that you can give to the police as evidence.”
Cuchilla said Huntington Beach police are asking for the public’s help with any information or video that may have been taken that night.
Los Angeles Times