Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Cyclist killed on rural roadside

This just sucks. But it's the reality we have to live with. People drink, people drive. They shouldn't, and if they do, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. I wish I hadn't stumbled across this, but I refuse to live my life in fear. I just hope that maybe someone will read this and think twice about getting behind the whell next time they've had too many drinks.


From the San Franciso Chronicle:

Cyclist killed on rural roadside
Motorist booked on suspicion of drunken driving Jim Doyle, Chronicle Staff

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

A female bicyclist who had apparently stopped to rest on the side of a
country road in Sonoma County was killed Monday by a suspected drunken
driver in a pickup truck, authorities said.

The identity of the 43-year-old victim from Clearlake in Lake County was
withheld Monday by the coroner's office.

It is believed to be Sonoma County's third bicycle death linked to a drunken
driver in the past year.

Monday's accident occurred under sunny skies at about 1:10 p.m. on Mark West
Springs Road near the Quietwater Road intersection outside Santa Rosa. The
woman, whose family is in the process of moving from Clearlake to Sonoma
County, was riding solo on a mountain bike.

Joseph Lynchard, 72, of Santa Rosa, the driver of a silver 1997 Ford
F- 150 pickup truck, was taken into custody after the accident. He was
booked at the Sonoma County Jail on suspicion of felony drunken driving,
inflicting great bodily injury and gross vehicular manslaughter while

"We have every reason to believe that he (was) under the influence,"
said California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Christine Jacobs. She said that
laboratory results of Lynchard's blood alcohol level were pending.

A driver who witnessed the accident told investigators that the victim had
stopped her bike on the right shoulder of the eastbound lane of Mark West
Springs Road, a hilly road with a 15-foot-wide shoulder.

"It was not clear whether she had gotten off the bike and was sitting on the
ground, or straddling the bike to drink some water," Jacobs said. "He
swerves off the roadway to the right and hits her. For whatever reason, he
turned the vehicle that way. Near as we can tell, he drives about 50 yards
up the road and pulls over."

Paramedics pronounced the woman dead at the scene, with massive head
injuries and a broken right leg. An autopsy is scheduled for this morning.

It is unclear how fast the pickup truck was going, Jacobs said.

Almost a year ago, 43-year-old winery marketing analyst Daniel O'Reilly of
Agua Caliente was struck and killed by a drunken driver as he peddled home
on Mark West Springs Road. William M. Albertson, 46, of Lake County was
sentenced to 14 years in state prison for the crime.

Nearly a year ago, on April 11, Easter Sunday, Alan Liu, a 31-year- old
engineer and triathlete, was killed, and his companion, Jill Mason, 26, was
paralyzed when they were hit by a car as they cycled along Highway 12 near
Oakmont outside Santa Rosa. The driver, Santa Rosa lawyer Harvey Hereford,
had drunk more than three times the legal limit at which a person is
considered too intoxicated to drive.
He was subsequently sentenced to eight years, eight months in state prison.

"We have a lot of rural country roads out here, and people who ride their
bikes on these country roads usually know the risk and assume the risk,"
Jacobs said. "They do the best to protect themselves, but can't protect
themselves against everyone."
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