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Second Female Bicyclist Killed; Driver Flees Scene

Catherine Ritz, 57, of Irvine was hit by a pickup truck Saturday on Newport Coast Drive. It was the second bicycle fatality in Newport Beach in two days.

A female bicyclist was killed Saturday following a hit-and-run collision on Newport Coast Drive, marking the city's second bicyclist fatality in two days, Newport Beach police reported.

Catherine Ritz, 57, of Irvine was struck at about 9:45 a.m. on Newport Coast Drive, between Ocean Vista Drive and Vista Ridge Drive, according to police spokeswoman Kathy Lowe. Ritz was transported in critical condition to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo. She was pronounced dead at the hospital at 1:40 p.m. from injuries she suffered in the accident.

Police say the preliminary investigation shows Ritz was riding northbound on Newport Coast Drive when she was struck from behind by a black pickup truck.

"The driver of the truck fled the scene without stopping to render aid and continued northbound on Newport Coast Drive," Lowe said.

Police are still looking for the suspect's vehicle, which is described as a black full-sized pickup truck, possibly 2001-2004 Toyota Tacoma, with significant damage to the right front area of the vehicle.

An investigation into the hit-and-run is continuing at this time. The Newport Beach Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in locating the driver of the vehicle. Anyone with information regarding the fatal collision should call Traffic Investigator Eric Little at 949-644-3746 or email at elittle@nbpd.org.

Saturday's fatal hit-and-run is the second bicyclist fatality in two days in Newport Beach. Resident Sarah Leaf, 29, was killed Friday about 10:40 a.m. when she was hit by a truck on Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.

STEVE September 20, 2012 at 05:08 PM
GET THE BIKES OFF THE MAIN HIWAYS - PCH - NEWPORT COAST - ESPECIALLY ON THE WKEDS .... MANY OF THE RIDERS I ENCOUNTER ARE RIDING SLOWLY AND WITH TOTAL DISREGARD FOR THE CARS ON THE ROAD... IF THEY WANT TO RIDE, RIDE ON THE SIDE STREETS OR EVEN IN THE PARKS / BACKBAY OR AROUND IRVINE .. IF THEY LIKE TO RIDE, WHY ARE THEY RIDING IN TOWN (CDM) - WEAVING IN AND OUT OF PARKED AND MOVING CARS .... NO BRAINS NO HEADACHES .........!!!
Andrew Somberg September 20, 2012 at 07:54 PM
People who knew her really loved her. All that I can say is that life is so very precious & I hope that people will be able to say as many kind things about me when I go.
Andrew Somberg September 20, 2012 at 07:56 PM
People who knew her really loved her. All that I can say is that life is so very precious & I hope that people will be able to say as many kind things about me when I go.
Robert September 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM
The fine for texting and driving needs to go up and if texting is involved in an accident then the penalty needs to be similar to a drunk driving accident. It is easy to prove texting involvement if it can be correlated to the time of the accident. AS FOR ALL CAPS STEVE.....I am sure he has no headaches or concern for anyone but himself and getting from A to B without being bothered by anyone. Bicycles have a right to be on the road just like cars. It is the law. Your responsibility is to avoid hitting them or if a cyclist from being hit by a car. Getting whacked while in the bike lane...is not something a cyclist has much control over. Giving tickets for having a wheel in the bike lane while driving would be a good emphasis for the Shire Cops and CHP....I see that all the time when I ride and consequently spend a lot of time on Bike trails and too far to the right for safety....
D. Rickner October 03, 2012 at 01:58 AM
Texting during driving is killing more people than drunk driving ever will!!!

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