Two female cyclists were killed in separate bicycle traffic accidents in Newport Beach in September, causing the community to look for suspects and consider the issue of bike safety in the city.
On Friday morning, September 14, 29-year-old Sarah Leaf was killed in a California bike accident at the intersection of East Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. According to witnesses, the woman was riding on Bayside Drive and preparing to turn right when a pick-up truck traveling in the same direction turned right into the rider, running her over. The driver who hit leaf stayed at the scene of the accident and cooperated with police. Leaf, a resident of Corona del Mar, was a nutritionist at Shape Up Fitness & Spa. She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
On Saturday morning, September 15, 57-year-old Catherine Ritz of Irvine also was struck and killed by a pick-up truck, this time on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Vista Drive and Vista Ridge Drive. The bicycle accident occurred when a northbound vehicle struck the northbound biker from behind and then left the scene of the crash without rendering aid to the victim. Ritz was rush to a Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, but soon died of her injuries later on Saturday. Ritz, also known professionally as Kit Campion, was a physician and president of Greater Newport Physicians.
Newport Beach Police are looking for information and eyewitnesses regarding both of the fatal bike accidents. The truck that hit Ritz has been described as a black full-sized pickup truck, possibly a Toyota Tacoma. Anyone who can assist with the investigations should call authorities immediately.