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Police: Cyclist Hit Crossing Against a Red Light

Long Beach Police Department said the woman rode across Bellflower on Atherton when she was hit by a van driven by a Los Alamitos 19-year-old.

Police say a 50-year-old Long Beach woman who was riding her bike across Bellflower Boulevard Tuesday night when she was struck by a van has died of her injuries, and two Patch readers said she was a local and reliable dog walker.

The woman, 50, was not named pending the notification of relatives, Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said via an e-mailed press release. Late Wednesday night, the L.A. County Coroner's Office said her family had not been reached, so Patch is withholding her name.

New information released by LBPD Wednesday stated that the bicyclist was crossing Bellflower just outside the crosswalk and against a red light.

As she rode west on Atherton and on the north side of the street, she entered the intersection "on a solid red light" and was struck by a Honda Odyssey, which had the right-of-way, Pratt wrote in the release.

The accident occured about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, and left the woman in the roadway, where the Odyssey van driver tried to aid her and called 9-1-1, Pratt said. The van driver was a 19-year-old Los Alamitos resident who was interviewed, and not cited. The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but died about four hours later.

A few Patch readers had already heard of the woman's passing hours after Patch's first story posted, and described the deceased as an exceedingly kind and thoughtful dog walker who texted and emailed photos of her charges to their human companions.

One of the deceased's clients said she was suspicious of the scenario police released, writing:

"She was a wonderful person. She was very responsible and caring. She loved animals and appreciated them all for their unique personalities. She was very good about keeping the owners updated with photos and texts about their pets while in her care. A kind, generous soul whose goodness will be missed."

Of the assertion that her dog walker ran a red light on a very large and busy intersection:

"In my experience, she did things by the book. She showed up at exactly the time she was supposed to, and left exactly on time. She was very responsible or I would not have hired her to care for my pets. She was not the type to cut corners ... or in this case, run a red light.

"She rode her bike to and from my house wearing a helmet on a bike equipped with a flashing light and reflectors. I was not there [at the crash], but I take exception to the blame being placed on the victim that has no voice in this matter. She has suffered the most costly sacrifice, the loss of her life, and there are too many accusations and opinions flying around. I think the  investigation should continue.

"People know where she was coming from (a client's home) and riding to, at the time of the accident. The driver should not be the only witness or be taken at face value in this matter....Not saying he is guilty either; it may have truly been an accident."

The client said her dog walker leaves behind cats and a dog that had to be taken to an animal shelter that is only temporary, and her pets will need adoption.

Police asked that anyone with information about the crash contact Long Beach Police Accident Investigation Detective Brian Watt at (562) 570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling   1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.

Debbie Montgomery January 17, 2013 at 07:41 PM
WOW!!! This client of the deceased sure can place blame on something they know nothing about. There were witnesses - the driver was NOT the only one stating his case. Of course the police performed an investigation and no, she was not wearing a helmet, yes, she was wearing dark colored clothing and yes, she did run a red light. This was an accident. Let's remember there are others involved here - how about the 19 year old who now has to live with this tragedy - I'm pretty certain he didn't intend on killing someone that night.
Mary R January 17, 2013 at 08:49 PM
Surprised there are not more accidents like this. Cyclists in this city do exactly as they like....ride the wrong way on a one-way street; ride on the sidewalk. Try driving across the Navy Weapons Station road on a Saturday morning...they ride three or four abreast and will not move.
Allison January 17, 2013 at 09:14 PM
I totally agree with you Debbie. I was there just after the accident happened and from what i could see, there were several witness that were talking with the police when they came. It is a sad loss but we also have to think about the 19 year old too. The kid has to live with this for the rest of his life!!!!! We all just need to make sure to drive more carefully and to watch out for others on the road.
Nancy Wride (Editor) January 17, 2013 at 10:15 PM
I basically loathe that intersection because people seem to drive way too fast through it, and I do think the police would not base an official press release based on only the driver who struck the cyclist. And I feel for that driver, who must be traumatized as much as this woman's friends and family.
Dennis Wolverton January 17, 2013 at 10:16 PM
I'm a careful, law abiding bicyclist, and a careful, law abiding motorist. I'm in my 60's, and over the years, I've gone through a red light, both on the bike and in the car. Not often, thank God, and not intentionally. And no one got hurt. I lucked out. Sometimes the brain skips a beat and just doesn't function right. Dennis
Britt Kjoss January 18, 2013 at 01:17 AM
If I had a dollar for every bicyclist who runs a red light, rides on the wrong side of the street (against traffic!) or on the sidewalk on 2nd street in Belmont Shore I'd be a rich person. Yes, cars run red lights as well but bikers don't seem to want to take the time to stop. I really feel for the 19 year old driver of the car.
Nancy Wride (Editor) January 18, 2013 at 01:47 AM
People are human and make mistakes. Few among us hasn't accidentally drifted into the lane next to us momentarily. But I find typically that things like tailgating, speeding, weaving lanes, eyeballing the cell phone, tend to be chronic bad habits. Do you think that's true of bicyclists?

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