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Viola Tucker - May 6, 2006

 
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BCI
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Joined: 27 Nov 2002
Posts: 352

PostPosted: Sun May 14, 2006 1:49 pm    Post subject: Viola Tucker - May 6, 2006 Reply with quote

The Cycling community has been struck with another loss; Deep sympathy & condolences to the family and friends of Viola Tucker, a leader of the Cyclistas Capistrano cycling group, who tragically died when struck by a car on PCH on her way to her club's Saturday Ride on May 6th.

Services were last Thursday, and she is and will be greatly missed.

The Sheriff announced that she drifted out of the lane and collided with the passing car.

Donations
In lieu of flowers, Viola's family requested donations to Coral Thrift, 534 N. El Camino Real, San Clemente, CA 92672. The thrift shop supports youth charities.
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 9:46 am    Post subject: Re: Loss of Viola Tucker Reply with quote

BCI wrote:
The Sheriff announced that she drifted out of the lane and was struck by a passing car.
I didn't see that in the original article, was that in a followup article?
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Bill Sellin
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Joined: 27 Nov 2002
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 12:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah; The Register announced on Monday & Tuesday a follow up with no charges against motorist & a determination that she drifted. It is a pretty spot & anythig from road trash to ground squirrels to ocean views have distracted me through here... but the motorist claims to have had no time to brake so with out skid marks it might be impossible to tell if she way in the bike lane & thrown into car lane by impact or if she was in car lane & hit there... The motorist saw her up ahead he said... so passing slowly in case she swerved would have been extremely cautious of him... Here are all 3 articles from the Register:
Quote:
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Cyclist hit on highway
Viola Tucker, 78, an avid rider, was killed on the stretch of road in Capistrano Beach where two joggers were injured last month.

By AMANDA STRINDBERG and NATALYASHULYAKOVSKAYA
The Orange County Register



HOBBY: Viola Tucker, 78, road
with her bike group three times
a week and went on weeklong
bike tours. She biked more than
75 miles a week, her daughter said.
COURTESY OF JAN FOLEY


CAPISTRANO BEACH – As Viola Tucker left for her typical Saturday morning bike ride, daughter Jan Foley hollered, "See you later."

She never did.

Tucker, 78, was struck and killed less than an hour later while riding on a treacherous stretch of Coast Highway in the Capistrano Beach community of Dana Point.

The bicyclist, who rode more than 75 miles a week, was on her way to meet her cycling group, the Ciclistas Capistrano, in front of San Juan Capistrano's City Hall. When she didn't show up, worried group members called the San Clemente home that Tucker shared with her daughter.

About an hour later, a coroner official came to the home with the news.

"I just can't believe it," Foley said. "She was my best friend. The only solace I have is that she died doing what she loved."

Tucker, who started road biking in her 20s, was hit just a quarter mile away from where a hit-and-run driver injured two joggers from San Clemente last month. The area is under construction.

Tucker was riding north between Camino Capistrano and Palisades Drive, just a few miles away from her house, when a 55-year-old San Juan Capistrano man in a Toyota two-door sedan hit her.

The driver was at the scene when police arrived shortly after 8 a.m., Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Ted Boyne said. The driver was not arrested.

The impact threw Tucker into the middle of the road. One of her biking shoes landed in a tall bush by the road. Her black road bike was mangled.

Two electronic signs warning drivers about the construction zone stood on the side of the road nearby.

On this stretch, Coast Highway is squeezed to just two lanes between tall bluffs and the seaside railroad.

Dana Point City Manager Doug Chotkevys said once the investigations of the two recent accidents are completed the city will decide if any changes need to be made.

At 1:30 p.m., as soon as the investigators reopened the highway, bicyclists and cars streamed down the road.

"People need to follow the rules of the road," Chotkevys said. "Anywhere along Coast Highway you have to be extra careful."

Tucker's friends and family said she was a cautious rider, always encouraging others to wear a helmet and gloves.

"She was very careful, a good, strong rider," said Ciclistas Capistrano biker Judy Matlin, 66.

As neighbors watched investigators wrap Tucker's body in a blanket, they wondered whether the construction had led to a rise in accidents, or if the road has always been too narrow and hazardous.

Mark Beimford, a 52-year-old Dana Point runner training for the San Diego Marathon, came across the closed road on his way back from a run by the beach.

Beimford, who used to run along the highway, said he avoids it since the hit-and-run accident last month that left runners Stacy Neria and Carol Daniel seriously injured and still hospitalized a month later.

"People are not paying attention," Beimford said. "This is just another reinforcement."

Tucker had trekked on weeklong bike tours throughout the United States and Europe, a few of the rides she did with Matlin. Age didn't stop her; it just slowed her down a bit. But she never complained. It wasn't her style.

And when someone needed extra encouragement to get up a hill or finish the last stretch of a ride, Tucker was the first to say, "You can do it."

After all, she was 78 and still on a bike. She rode with her bike group three times a week, the rides always ending with breakfast at local favorites including Adele's Café and Pipes Café in San Clemente.

The days she didn't ride, she walked to the beach or into town. On Fridays, she volunteered at a local thrift shop. Keep busy and you won't get old - that was her motto.

"She always joked, 'If I have to go into an old folks home I'll ride my bike over the cliff," Foley said. "She absolutely loved it. She would have done it until she was falling off."


Quote:
Monday, May 8, 2006
Bicyclist appears at fault in deadly crash
Viola Tucker, 78, reported to have pulled her bike into traffic, colliding with a car and ending her life.

By HEATHER IGNATIN
The Orange County Register

DANA POINT – Investigators said today that a 78-year-old woman killed this weekend while riding her bike on Coast Highway apparently was at fault for the crash.

"It appears she pulled into traffic," said Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino, about Viola Tucker, who died Saturday morning. Tucker was riding north between Camino Capistrano and Palisades Drive, just a few miles away from her house, when she collided with a San Clemente man driving a Toyota two-door sedan.

The accident happened just a quarter-mile away from where a hit-and-run driver injured two joggers from San Clemente last month.

The motorist was not arrested or cited, police said. He did not test positive for drugs or alcohol.


Quote:
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Cyclist swerved into harm's way
Sheriff's deputies decline to cite motorist in the accident that killed a 78-year-old.

By HEATHER IGNATIN
The Orange County Register

DANA POINT – A 78-year-old woman struck and killed by a car over the weekend while riding her bike on Coast Highway apparently was at fault, investigators said Monday.

"It appears she pulled into traffic," Orange County sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said about Viola Tucker, who died Saturday morning.

Tucker was riding north between Camino Capistrano and Palisades Drive, a few miles from home, when she collided with a car driven by Craig Sonnenberg, 53, of San Clemente.

"I didn't have time to put on my brakes," Sonnenberg said. "It happened so fast. The next thing I knew, it was over."

Sonnenberg, a property manager, said he saw Tucker pedaling in front of him along the road and "then the next thing I knew she swerved in front of my car."

Sonnenberg's blood pressure soared after the accident, and he was taken to a hospital after dialing 911.

"I'm hanging in there," he said Monday. "I've been crying my eyes out because I can't bring her back."

Tucker's family and friends have said she was a cautious rider.

"It's time for them to shut (the road) to bicyclists and runners until construction is done," said Tucker's daughter, Jan Foley, who added that her mother pedaled slowly but always straight. Tucker rode more than 75 miles a week.

The accident happened a quarter-mile from where two joggers from San Clemente were struck by a hit-and-run driver.

Brad Fowler, Dana Point public works director, said the accident occurred "well outside the construction zone" - along a stretch of 8-foot-wide bike lane on a slight curve.

"We've uncovered no specific safety issues at the site," Fowler said about the signage, striping and lane widths. "It's a tragic accident."

The installation of a storm drain north of Palisades Drive wrapped up last week after six months of work, he said. The contractor plans to remove road detour signs and plastic road dividers this week.

"I'm unaware of any accidents related to construction," he said.

The city will study the area in upcoming months to determine whether additional measures should be taken.

Sonnenberg was not cited, officials said.


I spoke with her son-in-law Sunday and he indicated that the family were hoping to find a reason for for her leaving the lane...
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PostPosted: Mon May 15, 2006 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whether or not she had a good reason to leave the bike lane seems irrelevant here. But let's assume for a minute that there was a good reason for her to leave the bike lane (broken glass or whatever).

If she didn't look back and merged into the traffic lane when the car was too close, then the crash would be her fault. But if she merged into a big enough gap, and then the driver came up behind the cyclist and hit her, then the crash would be the driver's fault.

Something seems fishy to me because the driver claimed that he saw her, yet didn't even try braking. Unfortunately, we won't be able to hear her side of the story.
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