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

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 group
of bicyclists that were riding in the canyon,” said Sgt. Brian Allen of
the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “Two of them were injured
and 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 the
double yellow lines, traveling into the southbound traffic lane toward
a group of cyclists, including Novotny. Valencia’s truck allegedly
struck three of the riders and continued northbound, leaving the scene
of the collision, according to a CHP news release. Valencia also
allegedly sideswiped a Hyundai; the driver was uninjured….

Valencia, who was suspected of driving under
the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, was arrested and taken to the
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station to be booked for investigation
of several felony charges, including murder, driving while under the
influence and/or drugs causing death and hit-and-run causing death, the
CHP 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.


A reckless rider pleads guilty to assault with a deadly weapon. But does that say more about the city that charged him than the cyclists that ride there?

Yes, bike riders are subject to the same laws drivers are. Maybe Santa Monica police and prosecutors wanted to send that message loud and clear. Maybe they wanted to make an example of one reckless cyclist so other bicyclists would straighten up and ride right. But to do it, they slapped a reckless, red light […]
Cyclists removing driver from car. Screen capture from CBS

Group Ride Confrontation Sparks Debate, Cyclist-Blaming

The full story is not clear at this point, but news media and social media have been critical of cyclists in a confrontation with a driver. See coverage at CBS, Fox11, and the L.A. Times. The incident took took place last night, in Koreatown, during a group bike ride. According to CBS, the group of […]

Facebook Face Off: Malibu’s Anti-Bike Crusade Runs Into Opposition

A cyclist blocking traffic in Malibu on the PCH. Photo:JGL Songs/Flickr Generally, I try to avoid writing about Facebook "groups" that bag cyclists, pedestrians or transit riders and projects because they’re not really representative of anything other than an angry person with a keyboard. However, that was before Biking In L.A. pointed us towards a […]

Caution! Please Pass with Care!

Signs also available in Spanish.  Photo: LA Ecovillage When I first heard of the signs that popped up all over Los Angeles two nights ago urging drivers to pass cyclists with care, my first thoughts were that L.A.’s D.I.Y. culture has reached a tipping point.  Not only have advocates learned that the LADOT and other […]