Update: Police Report on Lancaster Bike Fatality

An alert and obviously well-informed reader got a copy of the police report from Tuesday’s fatal bike crash in Lancaster.  Some readers felt that I assumed the car driver to be at fault without knowing the facts.  The point of that article, and this one, isn’t to place blame on anyone but show how the media, in it’s efforts to not place any sort of blame, often makes it sound like cyclists are at fault in these sorts of collisions.

It’s more than bad enough that a young man lost his life in a crash, some commenters felt the road condition is more to blame than the driver, but it’s made worse that press reports would place blame on the departed.

From the police report:

On Septermber 23, 2008, at approzimately 1205 PM, deputies from the Lancaster Sheriff Station responded to the call of a traffic collision on 30th Street West, near Avenue L-6.  Upon their arrival it was determined that a bicycle versus vehicle had occured.  It is unclear exactly what happened at this time; however it appears Mr. Fuller was traveling south on 30th Street West  in his 1989 Honda Civic.  Mr. Tran was also traveling south on 30th Street West on his bicycle.  The two collided on 30th Street West near Avenue L-6.  Mr. Tran was airlifted to Holy Cross Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.  It has not been determined at this time whether or not speed or alcohol played a part in this collision.

Below this statement in handwriting:

Cyclist SB, motorist same direction.  Struck cyclist with R/F portion of automobile.  No helmet.  Light on Bike?  Yes – street was illuminated.  No detected alcohol involved-driver volunteered blood test.

If nothing else, we can assume that Dan Tran did not "collide with" the Civic as CBS reported.  Streetsblog continues to wish Dan’s family and friends best wishes as they deal with this tragedy.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    Struck with right-front side of vehicle completely rules out the theory that Tran somehow rear-ended the car.

  • The press also do this with every article about a cars driving in front of trains. The headlines read, “Trains hits car”, when someone intentionally runs train track gates, or abandons a car on the tracks.

    Maybe they are trying to appeal to a readership that is (being American) more likely to drive than take the train or bike.

    Maybe it is the amount of advertising sold to car dealers.

    Whatever it is, it is very disappointing to read this bias in articles that will be read by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans – imparting this skewed perception of reality to our fellow citizens.

  • kg

    Thanks Damien for posting this. It is much easier to see the problem with the evidence before us like that. Why did the police report say “no light” when the accident happened during the middle of the day? Just wondering what is going on there.

  • Jeffrey W. Baker

    kg: Time of incident is unclear. The original news report said the collision happened at 10:55pm. The police report says 12:05pm, but it also says the street was illuminated. I presume they mean illuminated by lamps, not by the sun.

    Perhaps Streetsblog LA can bring us further details on Monday.

  • I believe the AM/PM thing is a typo on their part. It was a late night crash.

    12:05 is when the officer was writing the report.

  • Suzanne Ankerstrom

    Dan Tran’s funeral service will be Saturday, October 4th, at 11:00AM at Joshua Memorial, 808 E Lancaster Blvd. Cross streets are 10th Street East and Lancaster Blvd. Our prayers are for strength and consolation for his grieving family.

  • http://avpress.com/n/30/0930_s4.hts

    Talented swimmer will be missed
    This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press
    Tuesday, September 30, 2008.

    Valley Press Staff Writer
    LANCASTER – Family and friends are mourning the death of a 19-year-old Quartz Hill resident, who suffered fatal injuries when a vehicle hit his bicycle from behind as he pedaled along 30th Street West on his way to visit a friend.

    Dan Tran, who enrolled at the University of California, Irvine, after graduating with honors in 2007 from Quartz Hill High School, was a student in Quartz Hill High’s International Baccalaureate Diploma program as well as one of the best swimmers ever in the Antelope Valley, teachers said.

    “Dan was a wonderful student and such a bright kid,” said Kathleen Parks, a teacher at Quartz Hill High School and coordinator for the International Baccalaureate Diploma program. “We are all devastated by this tragedy.”

    Tran was hit at 10:55 p.m. Sept. 23 on 30th Street West near Avenue L-4 and suffered head injuries and upper chest trauma, Lancaster Station Traffic Detail Deputy Dennis Campbell said. Tran was airlifted to Providence-Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

    On the Quartz Hill High swim team, Tran participated in several Southern California competitions, won titles three years in a row at the Golden League swimming competition and was team captain his senior year.

    Mark Thibault, a swimming coach and teacher at Quartz Hill High School, described Tran as a great leader who always encouraged his team members but at the same time was really humble.

    “He was the one who kept in the background but at the same time held everyone together. He truly was a team player,” Thibault said.

    Noting Tran’s talent, Thibault said even swimmers at Quartz Hill High School rival Highland High School were upset at news of his death.

    Thibault said Tran was hit while on his way to a friend’s house.

    “After he never made it, she called his older brother,” the coach said. “And he called his cellphone, and that is how he found out. And then they called me.”

    Tran was traveling south on 30th Street West when his bike was hit from behind by 38-year-old Reneal Fueller’s 1989 Honda Civic, authorities said.

    Fueller allegedly took his eyes off the road momentarily to shift gears when he struck Tran, causing him to fall off his bicycle and hit the ground, Campbell said.

    Fueller apparently was driving 35 mph in a 50-mile speed zone, officials said.

    Tran was one of the honorees at the Antelope Valley Athletic Club 4.0 recognition dinner in 2007.

    “He was so talented,” Parks said.

    Thibault said Tran decided to stop swimming after graduating high school and turn his focus on his college career.

    Friends conducted a candlelight vigil in Tran’s memory Sunday night.

    Tran’s memorial services are planned for Saturday at 11 a.m. at Joshua Memorial Park, 808 East Lancaster Blvd., Thibault said.




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