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California cycling lover killed in hit-and-run bike crash

Bicycling is more than good exercise to many people who live in Los Angeles. To some, bike riding spares the environment of toxins emitted by motor vehicles, while others feel riding is just fun. The motivation doesn't matter; bicyclists have rights to use California roads.

A young Irvine man lived and breathed bicycling. Family members said the 21-year-old enjoyed biking so much that he focused his college studies on business, so he could open a bike shop in the future. The cyclist also was a certified bike mechanic and was employed in a bike shop.

The dreams ended when the man was killed in a hit-and-run bike accident. Orange County authorities said the rider was struck on a Sunday morning. The man's body was discovered by a Westminster fire chief on his way to work.

A few minutes before arriving at the scene of the accident, the firefighter spotted a damaged car heading in the opposite direction. He remembered the car's windshield was smashed and initially assumed the damage was caused by a collision with an animal.

The chief then noticed a shoe on the roadway and saw the bicyclist's body off to the side, disguised from view by a guardrail. While contacting emergency responders, the chief told police about the car he had seen. Shortly thereafter, an Orange County deputy located a Toyota matching the description in a parking lot.

The woman driver, 18, apparently had called a friend to help her unload the car. State police arrested the teen and jailed her on charges of suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, also known as vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, and a pair of drug offenses.

Leaving an accident scene isn't only illegal, it's negligent. In a wrongful death case, a plaintiff with proof of a hit-and-run can show a defendant disregarded safety, contributed to a victim's death and created losses for survivors.

Source: Orange County Register, "Cycling gave Irvine man purpose, grieving mom says" Claudia Koerner and Salvador Hernandez, Feb. 04, 201 

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