Please be on the lookout for a white, full size pickup truck with significant front end damage last seen traveling eastbound on Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz CA.
I was just riding along Friday morning when I stumbled on this homicide investigation on Soquel Avenue at Hagemann Avenue in Santa Cruz, California.
I saw a broken red bicycle in the bike lane, along with the scattered pieces of a traffic signal post in the road. A witness who saw the collision said the driver of a white pickup truck rear ended the cyclist, throwing him and his bike down the road, as the driver veered onto the sidewalk and sheered the light post from its mount. The driver fled; the cyclist perished.
April Parke, the mother of Zachary Parke, walked past the scene of this collision. Witnessing this opened up the wounds from the death of her own son at the hands of a careless hit and run driver in 2011. Parke’s killer, Elliot Dess, was caught, pled guilty and spend a year at a work release facility to pay for his crime. Ms. Parke told me that Dess will soon be allowed to drive again.
This hit-and-run fatality reminds me that Jerry Brown vetoed four bills to strengthen hit-and-run laws in California earlier this year, along with a vulnerable user law because, according to his veto messages, he believes “current laws are sufficient.” His vetoes motivated me to create this real time map of California hit-and-run collisions involving any road user as reported via the California Highway Patrol.
More news at:
- The Sentinel: “Soquel Avenue closed after fatal hit-and-run Friday morning” (where you’ll find a quote by Yours Truly)
- KSBW: “Truck kills bicyclist in Santa Cruz; Pedestrian pinned by SUV in Salinas.”
- KION: “Soquel Avenue back open after fatal accident investigation.” I talked a little with the KION reporter who reminded me to “please be careful.” I appreciate the sentiment, but careless car drivers out there cause almost all the problems out there and need the safety instruction. I’m already fairly aware of my vulnerability when I’m on my bike. Watching firefighters dump Clorox on Soquel Avenue and hose down the roadway reminds me of the the extreme damage I’m capable of when I’m behind the wheel of a car.
I believe this is the first cyclist fatality for 2014 within Santa Cruz city limits, and the third county wide.
It’s so sad that motorists cannot avoid running of the road to hit things, and occasionally, people. Especially when their victims should be celebrating the Holiday season.
As a result of other states enacting legislation for sending out “Amber Alerts” for hit-and-run drivers, “some [alerts] have resulted in arrests”. This could have helped catch the fleeing driver.
The victim was 63-year-old Jose Adan Lainez according to this story. http://kron4.com/2014/12/27/bicyclist-killed-in-santa-cruz-hit-and-run-identified/
Other bicyclist fatalities in Santa Cruz County in 2014 include:
Ben Creech. Victim of hit-and-run collision in Soquel on Friday, April 25, died from injuries on Tuesday, April 29.
One bicyclist died possibly from a medical condition while riding their bike in Felton on February 20. There was no motor vehicle involved.
I think those are the only ones. 2014 collision data is not yet available in SWITRS or TIMS.
Thanks Steve. Those two in the county are the ones I have tracked as well.
Didn’t that previous Silver Creek at Capitol Expressway fatality (from 2013?) also involve a white single cab F150 with toolbox. This was the updated vehicle description for the Santa Cruz hit and run. I know they are relatively common, but still.