A cyclist killed in a hit-and-run collision over the weekend has been identified by police as a 36-year-old new father from Vista. Investigators are still trying to track down the driver responsible.
"This is a tragic loss. You have a father and husband who died in this accident and obviously that touches so many different people. Our goal here is to find the person who is responsible for this and bring them to justice for the family," Escondido Police Department Lt. Scott Walters said.
Kevin Lentz was pronounced dead when officers arrived to the 1600 block of La Honda Drive on Saturday, according to Lt. Walters. Lentz leaves behind a wife and infant son, Lawson.
In a statement Lentz's wife described her late husband as eager for adventure and always willing to lend a hand.
"Kevin was a father, husband, son, nephew, grandson, friend, avid cyclist and so much more. Kevin had a subtle magnetism that made him many friendships - his beautiful smile, eagerness for adventure, and willingness to lend his expertise and time to anyone who needed it meant that all these relationships will leave a lasting imprint on all who knew him. Memories of him will now be the example his loving family and friends use to paint a vivid picture of the man Kevin was for his young son. We have chosen not to focus on how he was taken, but redirect our energy to cherish the short time that we had with him on this earth. Kevin’s family would like to give our sincere thanks and gratitude for the amazing outpouring of love and support," her statement said.
Celo Pacific Racing Club has opened a college tuition fund for Lawson who just turned 1 (Tax-deductible donations can be made via PayPal to Payment@celopacific.org). Also, money is pouring in to a GoFundMe page created on behalf of the family. The account raised more than $25,000 in less than 10 hours.
Lentz was traveling southbound on La Honda Drive with a group of other bicyclists when he was hit head-on by a car, Walters said.
Lentz's freind Marc Engelhardt, who was in the group, knew something was off when he saw traffic starting to back up and noticed his buddy was no longer on his tail.
"We rode as fast as we could back up the hill. We got there and it wasn't a scene I ever want to see again," Engelhardt said.
The car missed a seond cyclist riding alongside Lentz by just inches, according to witnesses.
"It's frustrating that someone who obviously wasn't thinking about others and taking care of other people took someone out who did," Engelhardt said.
The suspect vehicle fled the scene and was later found abandoned with severe damage on the 600 block of Aster Street, less than a mile away. It was described as a dark-colored Toyota sedan.
Police are still investigating the cause of the crash and are urging the driver to turn themselves in.
Anyone who may have witnessed the collision can call EPD Officer Adan Martinez at (760) 839-4465.
No other information was available.
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