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Drunk Driver Crashes Into Three Cyclists, Killing One. Arrested on ‘Suspicion of Murder’

3:10 PM PDT on July 13, 2009

Especially after the events of last Friday, it's always a sobering moment when you read about cyclists being killed by drunk or otherwise reckless drivers.  However, in this instance there is a silver lining to the tragedy; for once the driver is being charged with murder and not a lesser assault charge as we see all to often.

From the Santa Clarita Signal:

"It appears the drunk driver ran into a groupof bicyclists that were riding in the canyon," said Sgt. Brian Allen ofthe Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. "Two of them were injuredand taken to the hospital, and one additional bicyclist was killed."

The dead cyclist was identified as Joseph Novotny, 43, of Stevenson Ranch....

...Valencia's pickup truck allegedly crossed thedouble yellow lines, traveling into the southbound traffic lane towarda group of cyclists, including Novotny. Valencia's truck allegedlystruck three of the riders and continued northbound, leaving the sceneof the collision, according to a CHP news release. Valencia alsoallegedly sideswiped a Hyundai; the driver was uninjured....

...Valencia, who was suspected of driving underthe influence of alcohol and/or drugs, was arrested and taken to theSanta Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station to be booked for investigationof several felony charges, including murder, driving while under theinfluence and/or drugs causing death and hit-and-run causing death, theCHP report said.

Our hearts and prayers go out to the Novotny family.  If you know anyone who has a problem with drinking and driving, alcoholism treatment can help.

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