LASD Sheriff Strikes and Kills Cyclist in Bike Lane with Police Cruiser

Milton Olin Jr., from his LinkedIn account.

Milton Olin Jr., former chief operating officer of music-sharing site Napster and Hollywood Attorney, died Sunday when his bicycle was struck by a Sheriff’s Deputy’s patrol car at the 22000 block of Mulholland Highway. LASD confirms that Olin was in the bicycle lane at the time of the collision.

Both the driver and bicyclist were traveling east on Mulholland at the time of the crash. The LASD Cruiser has a cracked windshield, suggesting that the car hit Olin from behind at a high rate of speed. The LASD reports that the windshied was cracked when Olin’s body was thown onto the Hood. Olin was pronounced dead at the scene.

At this point, the Sheriff’s investigating the crash have not released the name of the driver, who was on duty and not responding to an emergency call at the time of the crash. The deputy was taken to the hospital for cuts and bruises. As one would expect when a cyclist is killed by unsafe driving, there have not been charges filed.

As a quick experiment, I ran a News Google search on “Milton Olin.” As you would expect, dozens of stories detailing how he was killed by a Sheriff’s deputy immediately filled my screen. I ran the same search but added the word “suspect.”

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.34.00 AM
Surprise, surprise.

If there was no vehicle malfunction, and there is no report anywhere that a malfunction is to blame, it seems odd that nobody in any news outlet or the LASD itself would use the word “suspect” when discussing the case. Sentences such as “the LASD has yet to identify the suspect” should be common place. Is the wall of blue already closing around Olin’s killer?

For a department besieged by charges of cronyism, a clear and transparent investigation of the crash should be a requirement. Step one would be releasing the name of the suspect and identifying him as such. Step two would be charing him or her with a crime.

Biking In L.A. reports that Milton Olin Jr. was a practicing attorney since graduating from UCLA Law School in 1975, and worked as vice president of business development for A&M Records — which was chiefly responsible for the lawsuit that led to Napster’s bankruptcy. He also served briefly as the senior vice president for business development for before joining Napster.

  • effron

    Damien, aside from the windshield crack, what evidence do you have that the Sheriff was driving unsafely when this tragedy occurred?

  • poopface

    eh maybe the fact that the person driving was a LASD deputy.

  • Scott Gold

    Just too clear up for you, I have close knowledge about the case. It was not intentional but it was the sheriff’s fault. The bicycle was struck in the bike lane.

    It appears he was distracted by the computer in his car. An unfortunate incident since the police are required and expected to use the computers while in motion whereas for the rest of us things like texting and driving are illegal.

    I can see the sheriffs department and other organizations re-evaluating the equipment they use and when they are expected to use it.

    From my own personal experience I used to work a job at UPS where I was expected to violate safety regulations to clear jams on the rollers and slides the packages are sorted on. I would be reprimanded for not clearing the jam if I didn’t and reprimanded for clearing the jam if I was seen.

    Fortunately my actions put only myself at risk and of course I quit the job before long.

  • effron

    Scott, thank you for the additional information. If true, it’s another sad example of consequences of driving while distracted.

  • In a rear-end collision, the one doing the rear-ending is always at fault (unelss its insurance fraud).

  • As Jass noted, being struck from behind the person striking is always at fault unless there is some sort of fraud. That the bike was in the bike lane and the high rate of speed make that wildly unlikely.

    I can’t speak to what Scott is saying, he has information that isn’t public.

  • Assuming everything you are saying is true, that is an unbelievably wildly dangerous story and the whole department will likely be seeing a civil suit very soon. Another avoidable lawsuit brought to you by the LASD.

  • Scott Gold

    It is of course dangerous and there will undoubtedly be a lawsuit but it is not limited to the LASD, you can find articles about similar accidental deaths all over the country.

    Some departments have tried to limit the amount of usage of the computer demanded by the department however, even the most restrictive regulations that I have seen are not absolute and still permit/require single button interactions (and prohibit ‘typing’) which of course still requires reading of the screen.

  • effron

    I’m not questioning fault –just your assertion that his driving was “unsafe”. You don’t establish that fact in your report but you do jump to that conclusion. Your report doesn’t even mention the cyclist was in the bike lane when the accident occurred. Yes, lawfully the person striking is always at fault, no question. But it doesn’t always follow that the person striking was being unsafe. If what Scott is saying is true then yes, the driver was being unsafe.

  • Urban Reason

    By virtue of the fact that someone DIED after being hit from behind, wouldn’t that necessarily (and by definition) make his driving unsafe?

  • effron

    No it doesn’t. The fact that someone died after being hit from behind makes it a tragedy. There are any number of conditions where tragedies occur even though the driver is driving safely. Damien, in his article, suggests one: vehicle malfunction. Another consideration are unseen, adverse road conditions. I’m sure there are more. I’m not looking to excuse the accident. When I read Damien’s article this morning, there was no mention of the driver in the bike lane nor any indication of the driver’s speed yet there was a jump to the conclusion that the driver was unsafe. I was looking to understand better the facts. The article was short on those.

  • Urban Reason

    Fair points that, while unlikely, are still worthy of consideration for the sake of journalistic integrity.

  • Unbelievably, the first draft of this story did not mention the bicycle lane. That is a big red mark on me. It was put in later in the day. LASD has not confirmed (last I checked) that speed was involved, they’ve only suggested it based on road markings and the windshield crack.

  • effron

    Well I certainly wouldn’t have questioned the line about unsafe had I known about the bike lane business at the time. Thanks for the follow-up Damien!

  • don

    “unseen unsafe road conditions” If you cant see whats in the road ahead of you… YOU MUST SLOW DOWN OR STOP until you re-establish visibility of what is in front of you. No excuses.

  • Cap’n Stickler

    Your headline implies Lee Baca himself was behind the wheel of the patrol car involved in this tragic collision, when in fact it was an as yet unnamed LASD deputy. BIG difference.

  • effron

    The nature of an unseen, unsafe road condition is that it is unseeable —ever. The remedy you’re suggesting is that all vehicles at all time maintain a slow speed or even not move at all because there may be something that can’t be seen.

  • Lisa B.

    The guy was knocked out of his shoe and his helmet. I’m a cyclist and I can tell you cycling shoes are HARD to get on and off. The windshield had a hole in it. Speed was most CERTAINLY a factor.

  • effron

    I agree. I’m a cyclist too and It’s frightening to consider what may have happened. However none of these facts were in evidence at the time I made my initial comment.

  • Don

    A road, by nature, is a cleared path that is specifically designed to be consistent and provide a clear view as to what is ahead so that one may achieve certain levels of speed. If that clear view of the path becomes obstructed, then one must proceed with due caution. If speed is too high to see and react to any potential “unseen” hazard… Then one must slow down. If you cant see at all then stop.

  • effron

    I understand the concept of slowing down or stopping when a hazard is detected. It’s always prudent to do so. I’m referring to hazards which cannot be seen prior to experiencing them. They have been known to happen.

  • Don

    if you can not slow down in time for the visibility afforded by the conditions at hand. you are going to fast. a cyclists does not qualify as an “unseen” road condition. Lets test your thinking… what would you consider to be an unseen road condition? Please describe one of the unseen road conditions you have “known to happen” and lets see if it is possible here.

  • effron

    Firstly Don, I’m now satisfied in understanding what made this situation “unsafe”. The driver was in the bike lane at the time of the collision. That pretty much covers it. Unseen hazards come in the form of darting animals, slick or skiddish residue on the street surface, unexpected activity in neighboring or opposing lanes and so on. Whether or not this satisfies your ghoulish interest if these elements could possibly occur on Mullholland is entirely up to you.

  • Don

    It would still be unsafe driving on the part of the Deputy had the cyclist been riding in the lane. Rather than “unseen” I think you mean “sudden obstructions.”

  • The Dude

    Where does it say Lee Baca?

  • Joshua Putnam

    Don’t know if there’s a similar policy in LA, but in Seattle recently, the prosecutor made a public request that police not issue citations at the scene in serious collisions with cyclists — issuing citations at the scene can interfere with filing more serious charges after a proper investigation.

  • Niall Huffman

    The headline “LASD Sheriff Strikes and Kills Cyclist” is confusing because it uses the wrong term to refer to the person who was behind the wheel. There’s only one person in LA County who can properly be called a Sheriff — Lee Baca. Law enforcement officers in the employ of the Sheriff are not Sheriffs themselves; they are deputies. A person who knows this could look at the headline and think that the Sheriff (i.e., Lee Baca) himself was behind the wheel.

  • drronda1

    They will not release any information until they have done a thorough job of covering up as much information that they can and then investigate the background of the victim to reduce public sympathy for him. Then they will twist the truth so that the victim is at fault and his family and friends will come to his defense thereby causing a distraction from the truth which is the deputy hit and killed him and most likely will suffer no consequences. The same thing happened in the case of Mitrice Richardson where the deputies lied and covered up information. The public was left debating information that was erroneous which was a great distraction from the fact that Mitrice Richardson was last seen in the presence of Lost Hills Sheriff’s deputies. The cover up is already well on the way. I hope the family of Milton Olin have their eyes wide open.

  • LarryLurex70

    I think that if it actually HAD been Baca, it obviously would’ve said so. Unlike you, I’d also like to believe that not everyone is so thick that they’d be unable to sort out that the story involved an LASD deputy rather than the Sheriff himself.

    I never even thought of Baca until I saw your comment.

  • Niall Huffman

    It’s still inaccurate to call the person driving the car a Sheriff. He’s not a Sheriff; he’s a Sheriff’s deputy.

  • Dr Geek

    Too bad someone else is a fatal victim of LA Sheriff’s horrendous drivers. How they give these Sheriffs with multiple accident history and text while driving is beyond me. LA Sheriff will do the best they can to cover this incident up.

  • LarryLurex70

    Semantics. People aren’t nearly as thick as you think they are.

  • Niall Huffman

    It’s not a matter of how thick people are; it’s a matter of whether or not the statement is accurate. A Sheriff’s deputy is not a Sheriff.

  • NoeValleyJim

    The DA killed the case. No charges will be filed. The killer will walk free without even so much as a traffic ticket.


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