A cyclist has been killed and another seriously injured after a motorist driving at a speed that eyewitnesses estimated to be in excess of 100 miles per hour crashed into a charity ride in California.
The victims had been participating in the 20th edition of the 100-mile Tour de Palm Springs, which attracts more than 1,000 cyclists each year.
The fatal crash happened on Dillon Road near Indio Hills with the driver, who was heading eastbound as were the cyclists, veering off the road across the westbound carriageway and losing control of their saloon car, reports USA Today.
According to Sergeant Isaiah Kee of the California Highway Patrol, the vehicle then crossed back onto the eastbound carriageway, hitting the two cyclists before rolling to a rest.
One cyclist,Mark Kristofferson, aged 49, of Lake Stevens, Washington, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The other, Alyson Lee Akers, 50, of Huntington Beach, California, was taken to hospital by helicopter with serious injuries.
The driver was taken to hospital by ambulance to be treated for moderate injuries.
Witnesses said that the driver was travelling at more than 100 miles per hour on the road where the speed limit is 50 miles per hour and Sgt Kee said that due to the speed, the motorist may not have seen the riders soon enough to be able to slow down.
He said: “There were so many participants that it was easy to see that there were bicyclists coming ... not like you’re traveling down the road and all of a sudden encounter a few bicyclists.”
An investigation into the crash is continuing, including whether drugs or alcohol were a factor, Sgt Kee added.
The driver, Ronnie R. Huerta Jr., aged 21, and from Desert Hot Springs, is being held at the Riverside County Jail in Indio, and according to police is facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.