Claremont woman arrested for intentionally striking, killing bicyclist with vehicle, police say

CLAREMONT, Calif. (KABC) -- A woman was arrested after intentionally hitting and killing a bicyclist with her vehicle in Claremont Saturday, police said.

Claremont police responded to the crash at about 11:37 a.m. on the 1900 block of Mills Ave.

Upon investigation, it was determined the driver intended to strike the bicyclist.

Lt. Eric Huizar identified the victim as 55-year-old Leslie Pray of Claremont. Pray was on her morning bike ride when she was struck. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Pray was on the bike lane heading north, while the suspect was across the street in another lane. Skids marks from the scene were visible.

"The fact that the bicyclist was driving northbound on Mills in a bicycle lane, and the vehicle was travelling southbound, with skids we found at the scene shows a direct line right into the bicyclist," Huizar said. "It's clear to us that she intended to strike the bicyclist."

The driver, 61-year-old Sandra Wickstead of Claremont, was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Witnesses said there were numerous empty alcohol bottles in the suspect's car.

Investigators are awaiting toxicology tests to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved. They say speed was a factor in the crash.

According to witnesses, other cyclists had called police about a driver trying to run them down just moments before Wickstead came across Pray out for her ride.

Police said the incident was a random attack as the suspect did not know the victim. They are attempting to find a motive for the attack.

"I don't know what her motive was, what she was thinking," Huizar said. "I think we're all waiting to find out what that was."

There were no witnesses to the actual collision, police said.

Pray had started cycling this summer.

"I recognized her, she's a person that rides in our community all the time on her bike," said Susan Morrissette.

"She actually got hit here on the street and as far as I can tell, her body was actually in the windshield, because you can see the windshield was smashed in," Ronald Morrissette said.

The vehicle was described as a green 1996 Mercury Tracer wagon.

Wickstead is being held on $2 million bail. She was taken to a hospital for injuries sustained during the crash.
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