Officials have identified a man killed in Chula Vista after he was struck by a car while riding an electric scooter early Saturday morning.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office confirmed Sunday that the victim was Esteban Galindo, 26,
On Saturday, Chula Vista Police Department (CVPD) Sgt. Joe Picone said officers received several 911 calls just before 4 a.m. reporting a pedestrian struck by a car along Third Avenue near Quintard Street.
Officers arrived at a gruesome scene: the victim had been riding an electric Bird scooter and was bloodied and unconscious, lying on the street near a Jack-in-the-Box restaurant.
The Bird scooter was in pieces – a wheel and handlebars strewn across the street. The black car involved in the crash had pulled over on the side of the road, its hood crumpled and front windshield shattered.
Picone said the driver stayed at the scene and was understandably shaken.
“He’s very upset; very emotional,” the sergeant said.
Picone said the driver had been traveling southbound on Third Avenue and had the green light. The driver told police the man riding the electric scooter had “come out of nowhere.”
Galindo was hit from behind, police said.
Investigators said the driver was not believed to have been intoxicated or speeding. The sergeant called the crash a tragedy.
“It just looks like a very unfortunate accident,” Picone lamented.
CVPD officers gave Galindo CPR at the scene and were able to temporarily get his pulse back. He was rushed to the emergency department at UC San Diego Medical Center but did not survive his injuries.
Picone said accidents like this serve as a reminder to take extra caution if you’re riding an electric scooter – especially when it’s dark outside.
“When you’re out here, at night, riding on electric scooters or bikes, helmets, lights, following the rules of the road, prevent a lot of these kinds of accidents,” he said.
He stressed this warning to the public: “Please, if you’re out on scooters or bikes, please be careful – especially at night. Have lights, helmets; follow the rules of the road, please.”
Picone said the scene of this crash was particularly graphic, and the responding officers were jarred. They went back to the police station following the crash to calm down.
This was the second electric scooter crash reported by police in San Diego County on the same night.
Just before 11 p.m., two people riding tandem on a Bird scooter lost control and crashed along University Avenue in Hillcrest.
A 42-year-old woman suffered a serious head injury in that crash. The second rider was not hurt. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said the woman was not wearing a helmet and that both of those riders had been drinking before the crash.
Over this past year, electric scooters have become a transportation trend in San Diego County, with the electric scooter company, Bird, leading the charge. The safety of electric scooters has also been top of mind as they take over the streets.
On Friday, NBC 7 reported on a San Diego woman who is suing Bird after what she says was a fall due to malfunctioning brakes on a scooter that she rented in downtown San Diego.
Ngoneh Secka said she was riding the electric scooter when, suddenly, she realized the brakes did not work. She took a tumble and suffered a cut to her face, road rash, and injuries to her knee and toe.
Personal injury lawyers in San Diego say they are seeing many of these types of cases related to electric scooters as the scooters gain popularity in the region. NBC 7 reached out to Bird Friday for comment on Secka’s lawsuit but we have not yet heard back from the company.
NBC 7 spoke to San Diego residents Saturday about the use of electric scooters. Many agreed they are a fun, easy mode of transportation, but must be used responsibly.
Hillcrest resident Hailey Knott said she has used the scooters herself. She sticks to using them in areas where there are marked bike lanes, like in Hillcrest.
“Unfortunately, [safety] doesn’t land on the company because you sign a liability waiver, so it’s really up to the responsibility of the person riding it,” Knott said. “You should know yourself, and know whether you can handle riding safe and not hurting anyone around you.”
Local business owner Salomon Btesh said people who want to ride the electric scooters should be able to do so freely.
“I feel like in that type of instance, live and let live. If you want to do that, go ahead,” he said.