Arrest in Soquel bicycle hit-run death

The California Highway Patrol arrested 33 year old Sundara Joy Wertz of Soquel for the hit-and-run crash that killed cyclist Noel Hamilton after a six week investigation.

Noel Hamilton was riding uphill on Soquel-San Jose Road near Oneill Lane in Santa Cruz County when he was hit from behind and killed on June 27, 2011. The driver of the white Infiniti SUV who hit Hamilton continued driving. Wertz’s parents showed up at the scene of the death, and the parents encouraged Wertz to surrender herself to authorities later that evening.

Wertz was arrested today for felony hit-and-run and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.

I rode right past the scene of Hamilton’s death this afternoon and thought of him as I passed Oneill Lane. Soquel High School is located at this intersection, with bike lanes, street lighting and brightly painted crosswalks here to enhance pedestrian and cyclist safety on the road.

More in the Santa Cruz Sentinel: Woman arrested in Soquel-San Jose bicycle hit-and-run.

A little further afield, police in the Los Angeles community of Canoga Park, CA arrested a father and daughter for the April 2011 death of teen cyclist German Alex Romero. Romero, who was a senior at Chatsworth High School, was hit from behind by a Toyota Corolla allegedly driven by 23 year old Dominique Rush of Oxnard, CA. In contrast to the actions of Wertz’s parents, Rush’s father Steven Rush, 44, of Porter Ranch worked to conceal his daughter’s guilt. He was arrested for helping his daughter conceal her crime. Update: Biking In LA has more on this.

4 Comments

  • bikesgonewild
    August 10, 2011 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    …i’m glad to see something is finally being done…the woman has plenty of apologists & empathizers in the local newspaper but her story of “…i thought i hit a pothole…” doesn’t ring even remotely true…

    …she may be a ‘good person’ but she showed horrible judgement by driving away after hitting the man & leaving him to die alone in the dark…perhaps he might have made it if she had immediately called the paramedics…

    …that area as you suggest, fritz, is decent in general as regards bicycle safety infrastructure despite a fairly high traffic volume…i know it a little…i used to eat at carpos regularly, years ago when bicycling mag had their soquel office across the street…

    …i can understand how the woman reacted out of fear but the reality is she struck down another human being, took his life & then very selfishly drove away…that is not living up to being a good person…

  • August 10, 2011 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    She seems like somebody a lot of people will sympathize with. I think prosecution will be difficult in this one, especially if she gets a jury trial.

  • August 10, 2011 - 4:08 pm | Permalink

    She seems like somebody a lot of people will sympathize with. I think prosecution will be difficult in this one, especially if she gets a jury trial.

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