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Anaheim Man Arrested in Hit-and-Run Death of Newport Doctor

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim was taken into custody early Tuesday on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

An Anaheim man was arrested early today in connection with the fatal hit-and-run that claimed the life of a Newport Beach doctor, a police official reported.

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, was arrested at about 2 a.m. on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to Kathy Lowe, police spokeswoman. He was taken into custody in Anaheim along with the black pickup truck police believe to be involved in Saturday's fatal collision that killed Catherine "Kit" Campion-Ritz.

Lopez was booked at the Newport Beach Police Jail and is being held on $100,000 bail.

Campion-Ritz, 57, of Irvine, was a Newport Beach doctor for nearly 30 years. On Saturday at about 9:45 a.m. she was riding northbound on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Vista Drive and Vista Ridge Drive when she was struck from behind by a pickup truck. The driver of the truck fled the scene.  Campion-Ritz was transported in critical condition to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, where she was pronounced dead at 1:40 p.m. from injuries she suffered in the accident.

"Newport Beach Police Department personnel, with assistance from other Orange County law enforcement agencies, worked tirelessly since the incident occurred to bring the suspect into custody," Lowe said. "They will continue these efforts throughout the investigation to insure justice will be served."

The death of Campion-Ritz was the second bicyclist fatality in Newport Beach over the weekend. Resident Sarah Leaf, 29, was killed Friday at about 10:40 a.m. when she was hit by a truck on Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. No arrests or citations have been made in connection with Leaf's death.

Ava September 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Our deepest condolences to the families. Two very beautiful woman we have lost. Unfortunately, NPB is not a friendly bike nor pedestrian friendly town. The grade school, the middle school and the high school in the Heights area have no side walks for the kids to walk or ride bikes to and from school. We don't want to see anymore ghost bikes around town. This is a tragic and unnecessary loss of lives.
Bo September 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Sorry to say but the majority of bike riders ( especially the Joe Bikers ) think they own the road. Car vs Bike = Car wins everytime.
Deb September 18, 2012 at 06:52 PM
Wins???? Yes, you too can win and spend your life in prison for entering the competition!!! AND...Joe Bikers? Are you referring to those who take the sport seriously? Hmmm....there's no competition on the public road to be entered with a vehicle. Period.
Bo September 18, 2012 at 07:09 PM
These idiots ride 2 and three across, out of the bike lane and into the road. that makes it a competition ...I win ,not even a citation and they get to pay for the paintwork !!!!
J Nut September 18, 2012 at 07:54 PM
@Bo: show some respect and dignity. A person has died. If you want to complain about bicycles and/or cyclists do it some place else.
Bo September 18, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Thats what so great about this country I get to spout off any time I want !!!!! There is no time like the present to point out to all of those bikers who will read the artical that ignoring the law (and common sense) will get them killed and they know who they are!!!!
Cathy Cottrill September 19, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Wow,,what a cold heart. Not the time or place. Thank you Dr. Campion for all your compassionate care and hardwork to better health care.
SW September 19, 2012 at 02:25 PM
Bo, You need sensitivity training. God bless the doctor and her family !!
Jim Leonard September 19, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Again, my condolences to Catherines friends and Family. And I too am sorry to say to you Bo that you have this impression of bike riders. And that you did not even offer you condolences. I have been riding a bicycle as a primary means of transportation for 20 years or more, and I have met many other cylcists, and never once met one that thought they own the road. It seems that you are generalizing the victim into this category. Also, your comment about car vs bike, although accurate, implies that cyclists should just not ride on the road at all, even when they are operating legally, because cars will 'win'? I believe this was the case with Dr Campion-Ritz - riding in the bike lane. I suggest that we play fair here. Bicyclist have a responsibility to obey traffic laws just like motorists. And, they have additional responsibility to themselves to be extra careful because of their vulnerability. But if the motorist is at fault, we cannot blame the cyclist just because they were there. Motorist should recognize that bicyclist are again more vulnerable and take extra precautions, perhaps above and beyond the laws of traffic, to watch out for them. It is my hope that motorists understand this and realize that bicycling is the most cost-effective and healthy way to travel with town, and for some of us, withing the county.
Jim Leonard September 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
@Bo: Seems to me you are categorizing bicyclists as Joe Bikers (whatever those are) who ignore the law and think they own the road. Of course you can have your opinion. But be careful - someone important to you, like maybe an employer or your doctor - could be a bicyclist! To have an educated opinion, I suggest you get a nice bike and take to the road. If most motorists share your opinion, and you do not ignore the law, you would have nothing to worry about, yes?
Suzanne September 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM
This is heartbreaking news. Dr. Campion was our family doctor and had a heart of gold along with an incredible mind. She was smart, intelligent, and intuitive. This woman was truly a humanitarian and a very compassionate lady. What a loss to our community and to all of her patients, family, and friends. My condolences go to her colleagues and family at this time. This is truly a great loss. Sending Kristin Rhodes, her PA extra hugs at this time. As for BO, I pity you. You are a pathetic, bitter, and jaded human being and are absolutely nothing compared to what this great woman was. NOTHING.
steve September 20, 2012 at 10:56 PM
Dr. Campion was the Dr. of my wifes friend. Her friend is devistated by this news of her physicions untimely death by a runaway killer who only cared about himself. An 8 year sentance in prison and out earlier with good behavior is not enough justice given to someone who has a record of takeing away from society as opposed to someone who has given greatley to society. Ca justice system needs to be feared by wrong doers not held as an enabler of wrong doers.
Carol Saiz February 02, 2013 at 02:25 AM
Dr. Campion saved my husbands life! She was a GREAT doctor. Some of us loved her. She had every right to be on a bicycle here in Newport Coast. We have a lot of divers that need to take Charlie Sheen's anger management classes. :D Personally, I wish we had the DEATH PENALTY so that drivers like Lopez would fry. I am afraid to walk my dogs on Newport Coast Drive. If I would have known it was going to be such a busy road, I would have never bought real estate here 14 years ago. There is no police presence. Cars race by at speeds of 90 mph on Saturday morning in every kind of auto, from Ferrari's to trucks. They think this hywy is a freeway. I hate this street.

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