Michael David Tomlinson, 51, was killed in a bicycle accident in Aliso Viejo, which officials said involved a hit-and-run driver. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the fatal crash occurred the morning of Jan. 30 at the intersection of Wood Canyon Drive and Westridge Drive. Police said the motorist, later identified as 38-year-old Rogelio Martinez Cuin of Lake Forest, struck the bicyclist and kept going.
Tomlinson was transported to an area hospital where he died from his injuries. Orange County Sheriff’s deputies found the suspect’s vehicle a short distance away from the site of the collision and arrested Cuin. He was booked on suspicion of felony hit and run and vehicular manslaughter. Anyone who witnessed the incident or has information is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department at 714-647-7000.
Our deepest condolences go out to the family members of Michael David Tomlinson for their tragic and heartbreaking loss. Family members said he out on his morning bike ride when the collision happened. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
Crash Statistics and Potential Causes
According to California Highway Patrol’s 2015 Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but five injuries reported as a result of bicycle accidents in the city of Aliso Viejo. In Orange County as a whole, 17 people died and 1,022 were injured due to bicycle accidents during the same year.
Based on this news report, it is not clear how this fatal collision took place. There are a number of unanswered questions here. Was the driver under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs? Was he speeding or operating the vehicle in an unsafe manner? Did he fail to yield the right-of-way to the bicyclist? Did distracted driving play a part? We trust officials are looking into these and other issues in order to determine precisely what occurred here and why.
Justice for Victims and Families
In this case, however, it appears that the driver has been charged with vehicular manslaughter, which suggests officials suspect carelessness and/or wrongdoing on his part. In addition, the driver also left the scene of a major injury/fatal crash, which drew the felony hit-and-run charge. Under California Vehicle Code 20001 (a), motorists are required to stop immediately after a crash and remain at the scene until the authorities arrive.
In addition to facing criminal penalties, at-fault drivers in such cases may also be held financially liable for the victims’ losses. Families that have lost loved ones in traffic accidents caused by negligence or wrongdoing may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income, pain and suffering and loss of love, care and companionship. An experienced Orange County bicycle accident attorney will be able to advise victims regarding their legal rights and options.