San Diego

Man Strikes Bicyclist Returning From Memorial for Fellow Biker, Flees

Police are looking for the man who struck a bicyclist returning from a memorial for a boy killed in a bicycle crash.

The collision happened at 6:31 p.m. Wednesday at 52nd Street and El Cajon near San Diego's Talmadge neighborhood just east of Interstate 15, SDPD said. 

Omar Avila, 23, identified by friends at the scene, was riding home from the memorial for 13-year-old Jose Hernandez, killed as he rode his bike down a San Diego street with friends and hit a curb, sending him flying. Hernandez died at the scene from massive head trauma. 

Avila was heading westbound on El Cajon with his friend Jose Bautista when a Toyota FJ Cruiser made a left turn in front of them, Bautista said.

"He clearly saw us, he still took it (the turn). He almost took me out; I had enough time to get away," Bautista said. "As soon as I heard the impact, I knew it was just going to go downhill."

Bautista was able to divert right and bypass the car, he said, but his friend clipped the back passenger side of the car as it turned in front of him. They were passing through a green light and had the right-of-way, Bautista said. 

Bautista says he wishes cars would be able to share the road with bicyclists and others to prevent situations like these. 

"I come back to that certain situation and its just really sad how drivers just have no care for pedestrians, cyclists, people," Bautista said. "Just because you have a car doesn’t mean you own the road. You still have to watch out for a lot of other people."

Avila suffered some fractured ribs and head lacerations and was taken to an unknown hospital, though the extent or severity of his injuries is unknown, police said. His injuries are not considered life-threatening. The front fork on his bike is damaged. 

As for the man who hurt his friend and fled, Bautista said he just wants justice. 

"The guy knew what he was doing and he still fled. I just hope he gets caught," he said.

The suspect car is described as a blue and white Toyota SUV last seen heading eastbound on Monroe. The car may have a broken window or other damage on its back passenger side, police said. The driver faces felony hit-and-run charges. 

No further information was immediately available.

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