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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.

amanda September 16, 2012 at 11:20 PM
len, she was traveling UPHILL. this tragic accident has nothing to do w stopsigns or traffic laws. read the article.
Len September 16, 2012 at 11:40 PM
I did read the article. The question was asked "what do you think needs to be done to ensure no more bicyclists are killed." I was only commenting on the fact that bicyclists need to be very cautious when out on the road. In doing so, the chances of them being injured or killed is lessened. I was giving examples of what I've experienced with regard to cyclists. I know this incident didn't involve stop signs or traffic laws...It's tragic this young woman lost her life, made even worse that the person that hit her drove off.
Lynda diaz September 17, 2012 at 04:48 AM
My hearts and prayers go to all of us that knew Dr Campion. Dr Campion is a very experienced rider and she did not deserve to die. She will be missed by all!!!! It's still seems so unreal. I hope they catch the coward that did this to her.
Latice September 17, 2012 at 07:10 AM
We went to scene today and there is a clearly marked , wide bicycle lane! This idiot must have been texting it not paying attention or maybe even drunk! Whatever the case may be , he took away a person whom thousands relied on for medical care! She was a brilliant doctor who was well loved ! She would have never left someone to die so to imagine that she was left like that makes me sick!
Thomas Mickle September 17, 2012 at 10:03 AM
With all respect to the deceased .The question was what can be done. Well it seems that as time goes on things get stupider . I was taught as a kid to ride toward traffic and maybe the beloved lady would have seen who was about to run he down .Texting killed 3000 people last year. Riding with traffic makes you a target (only a matter of time). God Bless
Jon the Bikeman September 17, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Riding toward oncoming cars is a) illegal and b) greatly increases the danger because you are often in places where cars do not expect a vehicle. Next time you make a right turn after a stop tell me if you'd like to have a bicycle coming at your right fender and if you would even have noticed them. Here's a better idea. What if drivers went to prison for murder after they killed a pedestrian or a cyclist?
Jon the Bikeman September 17, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Riding toward oncoming cars is a) illegal and b) greatly increases the danger because you are often in places where cars do not expect a vehicle. Next time you make a right turn after a stop tell me if you'd like to have a bicycle coming at your right fender and if you would even have noticed them. Here's a better idea. What if drivers went to prison for murder after they killed a pedestrian or a cyclist?
G September 17, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Separate bike lanes from the road. (K-Rails) San Clemente installed K-Rails to protect users (Runners, Bikers). Give a full lane to bikes. I know traffic on PCH can be rough but the safety of the users enjoying the out doors should be more of a priority. If you must get somewhere quick take the freeway not PCH.
Susan Hoffman September 17, 2012 at 07:25 PM
She was my doctor for over 25 years. She was a dedicated family doctor with a sterling reputation and in fact saved my life. We enjoyed a friendly relationship and often chatted about bike riding. There is no making sense of this tragic accident.
Carlene Parrish September 17, 2012 at 07:36 PM
The loss of Dr. Campion will be felt by so many, inside and outside of the community. I had a procedure performed by her just last Thursday and am very grateful for the extended appointment that allowed us time to catch up. I have gone to her since 1986 and will miss her terribly. She was not just a wonderful doctor, but an exeptional human as well.
Richard September 18, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I agree with Jon. Motorist that hit and Kill pedestrians / cyclist should be charged and sent to prison. Then maybe people will realize that the text they are sending can wait.
Bill September 20, 2012 at 02:02 AM
Noise grooves cut in the road to separate the bike lane from cars. At least the driver will hear the noise before the crunch.
Serval Traficante September 20, 2012 at 11:00 AM
This is devastating, what a terrible thing to have happened. I pray for her family and friends, so that they may get through this. By the grace of god almighty, I hope the one who did this is found.
Jeff Mendoza September 20, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Bless their souls...
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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