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The Huntington Beach Police Department today announced the arrest of a driver connected to "a series of intentional hit-and-run incidents," all involving cyclists.
The driver struck three people on bicycles in three separate incidents in Huntington Beach, California, injuring two and killing one. The deceased man was later identified as 70-year-old Huntington Beach resident Steven Gonzales.
The male juvenile driver was apprehended and booked late on Monday night for one count of Homicide and two counts of Assault with a Deadly Weapon.
Police report that incident calls started coming in on Sunday evening, September 10, around 10:30 p.m. A person riding a bicycle reported that a vehicle had "intentionally sideswiped" him and then fled the scene. The bicyclist was treated at the scene with minor injuries.
Two more hit-and-runs were reported over the course of the next 45 minutes, all within a one-mile radius of each other.
While officers were still attending to the first hit-and-run incident, officers received calls about a second injured cyclist. This man was being treated by paramedics but died from his injuries.
As officers were investigating both incidents, a third victim called to report a hit-and-run. This man had been riding his bicycle in a crosswalk that evening when he was struck by a vehicle. The driver had fled the scene, and the bicyclist sustained minor injuries.
Following the incident, police put out a call for a black Toyota four-door sedan with significant front passenger-side bumper damage, urging Huntington Beach residents to report vehicles matching that description.
On Monday, September 11, the suspect's vehicle was located within the City of Huntington Beach, ultimately resulting in the suspect's arrest later that evening.
"I would like to commend the detectives who investigated these terrible crimes for their tireless work in apprehending a dangerous suspect," said Huntington Beach Chief of Police Eric Parra. "I would also like to thank the public for their tips and support as we searched for the perpetrator. The safety of our City is our top priority, and I want to reassure the community that they are safe."
Police did not provide any motive or more details that led to the driver's aggression. The investigation remains ongoing, and no further details will be released at this time. Police continued to urge anyone with information related to these crimes to call the HBPD WeTip Hotline at (714) 375-5066.
The United States is currently experiencing a multi-decade high when it comes to bicyclist fatalities, with, on average, 19 people getting killed while riding a bike every single week. This troubling trend is in line with all traffic fatalities nationally, which, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has seen a 10.5% increase since 2020, and bicycle fatalities make up 'just' 2% of those traffic deaths.
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Cycling Weekly's North American Editor, Anne-Marije Rook is old school. She holds a degree in journalism and started out as a newspaper reporter — in print! She can even be seen bringing a pen and notepad to the press conference.
Originally from The Netherlands, she grew up a bike commuter and didn't find bike racing until her early twenties when living in Seattle, Washington. Strengthened by the many miles spent darting around Seattle's hilly streets on a steel single speed, Rook's progression in the sport was a quick one. As she competed at the elite level, her journalism career followed, and soon she became a full-time cycling journalist. She's now been a cycling journalist for 11 years.
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