Police say a 50-year-old Long Beach woman who was riding her bike across Bellflower Boulevard Tuesday night when she was struck by a van has died of her injuries, and two Patch readers said she was a local and reliable dog walker.
The woman, 50, was not named pending the notification of relatives, Long Beach Police Department spokeswoman Nancy Pratt said via an e-mailed press release. Late Wednesday night, the L.A. County Coroner's Office said her family had not been reached, so Patch is withholding her name.
New information released by LBPD Wednesday stated that the bicyclist was crossing Bellflower just outside the crosswalk and against a red light.
As she rode west on Atherton and on the north side of the street, she entered the intersection "on a solid red light" and was struck by a Honda Odyssey, which had the right-of-way, Pratt wrote in the release.
The accident occured about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday, and left the woman in the roadway, where the Odyssey van driver tried to aid her and called 9-1-1, Pratt said. The van driver was a 19-year-old Los Alamitos resident who was interviewed, and not cited. The victim was rushed to a nearby hospital but died about four hours later.
A few Patch readers had already heard of the woman's passing hours after Patch's first story posted, and described the deceased as an exceedingly kind and thoughtful dog walker who texted and emailed photos of her charges to their human companions.
One of the deceased's clients said she was suspicious of the scenario police released, writing:
"She was a wonderful person. She was very responsible and caring. She loved animals and appreciated them all for their unique personalities. She was very good about keeping the owners updated with photos and texts about their pets while in her care. A kind, generous soul whose goodness will be missed."
Of the assertion that her dog walker ran a red light on a very large and busy intersection:
"In my experience, she did things by the book. She showed up at exactly the time she was supposed to, and left exactly on time. She was very responsible or I would not have hired her to care for my pets. She was not the type to cut corners ... or in this case, run a red light.
"She rode her bike to and from my house wearing a helmet on a bike equipped with a flashing light and reflectors. I was not there [at the crash], but I take exception to the blame being placed on the victim that has no voice in this matter. She has suffered the most costly sacrifice, the loss of her life, and there are too many accusations and opinions flying around. I think the investigation should continue.
"People know where she was coming from (a client's home) and riding to, at the time of the accident. The driver should not be the only witness or be taken at face value in this matter....Not saying he is guilty either; it may have truly been an accident."
The client said her dog walker leaves behind cats and a dog that had to be taken to an animal shelter that is only temporary, and her pets will need adoption.
Police asked that anyone with information about the crash contact Long Beach Police Accident Investigation Detective Brian Watt at (562) 570-7355. Anonymous tips may be submitted by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), texting TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637), or visiting www.lacrimestoppers.org.