Bicyclist Killed by Speeding Driver During Tour de Palm Springs
Mark Kristofferson, 54, of Lake Stevens, Washington, has been identified as the bicyclist who was killed during the Tour de Palm Springs ride Feb. 10. A rider from Huntington Beach was seriously injured as well after a speeding car crashed into the cyclists, The Press-Enterprise reports. Police say a vehicle traveling at high speed lost control on Dillon Road just east of Perkins Drive in Indio Hills and struck the cyclists. Kristofferson was pronounced dead at the scene.
High Speed Was a Factor
Ronnie Ramon Huerta Jr., 21, of Desert Hot Springs, was arrested a couple of hours after the incident and was charged with one count of vehicular manslaughter. Huerta was arrested at Dillon Road and 30th Avenue after his car overturned when he lost control. A second cyclist, Alyson Lee Akers, 50, of Huntington Beach was airlifted to a local hospital with major injuries. Officials said Huerta’s car was traveling at about 100 mph and went off the road into a dirt shoulder and then veered back into the path of the cyclists.
This is the second time tragedy has struck the popular 100-mile ride through the desert, a charity event that draws thousands of riders from around the country. In 2014, a Rancho Cucamonga resident was killed when a pickup truck struck her at a Thermal intersection. In that case, the driver was not charged with a crime.
We offer our deepest condolences to Kristofferson’s family. Our thoughts and prayers are also with Akers who has suffered serious injuries. We wish her the very best for a speedy and complete recovery.
Fault and Liability
Based on this news report, it appears that the driver was operating the vehicle at a high rate of speed. California has a “Basic Speed Law.” This law means that motorists should never drive faster than is safe for current conditions. For example, if you are driving 45 mph in a 55 mph speed zone during a dense fog, you may be cited for driving “too fast for conditions.” Drivers’ speed should depend on the number and speed of other vehicles on the road; the type of road surface; bicyclists or pedestrians on the roadway; and the weather (if it’s raining, foggy, snowy or windy).
In such cases, families of deceased victims may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties involved. Injured victims may be able to seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization, rehabilitation and pain and suffering. An experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer will be able provide more information to victims and their families regarding their legal rights.