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Female cyclist killed in Newport Beach hit-and-run

September 17, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A memorial now sits where a 57-year-old woman was killed when she was struck from behind by a pickup truck while riding her bicycle in Newport Beach Saturday.

The spot where Newport Beach Police Department says Catherine Ritz of Irvine, was riding with her husband at about 9:45 a.m. when she was hit by a black pickup truck.

According to police officials, the female cyclist was riding northbound on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Vista and Vista Ridge drives when the incident occured.

The driver of the truck then fled the scene without stopping to help the victim. Ritz's husband could not see the driver.

"Obviously that was a very traumatic event and he was only able to provide us with the vehicle description," said Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

Ritz was transported to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo in critical condition but later died from injuries sustained in the accident.

The suspect's vehicle was described as a black full-sized pickup truck, possibly a 2001-2004 Toyota Tacoma, with significant damage to the right-front area.

"Seeing a hit-and-run situation like this really hits close to home for me," said Scott Burrows of Newport Beach.

Scott Burrows' brother was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 1993. He understands what the Ritz family is going through and as a fellow cyclist hopes this memorial will serve as a reminder to drivers to watch out for others on the road.

"Hopefully it will cause them to slow down a little bit, and pay attention just a little bit more when they know someone was killed right on that spot," said Burrows.

Anyone with information about the incident was urged to contact Newport Beach Traffic Investigator Eric Little at (949) 644-3746 or email Little at elittlenbpd.org.


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