CHP checks 'new info' on bike fatality | January 26, 2011 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


News - January 26, 2011

CHP checks 'new info' on bike fatality

by Dave Boyce

A collection of vehicles, including squad cars from the California Highway Patrol, gathered at the intersection of Alpine Road and Interstate 280 around noon Tuesday, Jan 18, to do more research into the Nov. 4 accident in which Los Altos bicyclist Lauren Ward, 47, collided with a tractor trailer and died, CHP officer Art Montiel told The Almanac.

The CHP has "new information" and was conducting a "follow up," Mr. Montiel said, adding: "If this information changes the outcome (of the investigation), we'll let you know."

The new information did not come from a witness to the accident, Mr. Montiel said. The CHP is still hoping that witnesses come forward, he added.

The new information has also not led to a reopening of the investigation in which the CHP determined that the driver of the truck was not at fault in the accident, Mr. Montiel said.

Officers redirected vehicle and bicycle traffic away from the scene of the accident from about 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 18, Mr. Montiel said.

On hand from the CHP were the accident's investigation officer, the area commander, and members of the Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team, Mr. Montiel said.

The CHP also required the presence of the actual truck, from Randazzo Enterprises Inc. of Castroville, that was involved in the accident. The driver, Gabriel Manzur Vera, was not present, Mr. Montiel said.

The Ward family, represented by attorney John Feder of San Francisco, has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Mr. Vera and Randazzo.

In an earlier interview, Mr. Feder said he had hired an investigative team to conduct a re-enactment. Mr. Feder has not yet responded to an Almanac request for an interview.


Posted by Susan Smith, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 4:02 am

Somehow the grieving family has had plenty of time to meet with lawyers to ensure their "payout" (apparently according to other newspaper reports, they have already "settled" with insurance companies.) Sometimes an accident is just an accident. Too bad our culture is so ingratiated with a "need to punish" and greed to be paid blood money to follow... but when it comes to using up public dollars (and they are) sympathies to this family become occulded by the face of their need to be paid cash to make them "whole again"

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 4:35 am

Susan -

Would you feel differently if you found out this was the truck driver's third fatal accident in less than a year?

Posted by POGO, a resident of Woodside: other
on Jan 26, 2011 at 4:36 am

Sorry - I meant to say TEN years.

Posted by Mom on a Bike, a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on Jan 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Since I, my husband, and our son often bike "The Loop" -- along with thousands of other local cyclists -- I am deeply grateful to the CHP for pursuing this. How else can our public safety officials try to ensure that it doesn't occur again?

Since the collision was, without third-party witnesses, hard to comprehend, there remains a chance that, for example, that type of truck causes significant suction through that stretch -- which signage or a bike lane or some other mitigation could ameliorate ... or worsen. I'm glad the CHP is trying to understand, as best they can, exactly what might have occurred.

It may not be all about money -- it may be about saving a life. Mine. My kid's. My husband. Yours.