SUV Driver Loses Control, Kills Cyclist on Sidewalk in Los Gatos



View Larger Map

Joshua West, a 28-year-old Los Gatos resident, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle this morning by a driver who lost control of his SUV.

West was riding on the southern sidewalk along Lark Avenue at Garden Hill Drive in Los Gatos when the driver of a Chevrolet Blazer traveling eastbound on Lark veered from the right-turn lane onto the sidewalk, where he struck West, according to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police Sgt. Kerry Harris.

"The bicyclist was actually riding on the sidewalk and was hit by the front of the SUV," said Harris. "The SUV then hit a traffic safety barrier, then continued across the intersection, where it ran into a traffic signal, then flipped over on its side."

Harris said the driver had apparently been driving at a speed "inconsistent with the flow of the intersection" before losing control in the right-turn lane.

When police arrived, West was on the ground near the SUV, which evidently threw or carried him through the intersection with it, said Harris. Bystanders performed CPR on West on the spot and were later assisted by officers, but he remained non-responsive. He was eventually pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

Colin Heyne of the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition said he always advises people to stay aware, but he’s not sure that would have helped in this case, judging from the initial details. "It sounds like in this incident there’s very little he could have done," Heyne said of West. "There wasn’t really enough time for him to get out of the way."

The crash occurred at the intersection of Lark Avenue – a wide, multi-lane boulevard with heavy traffic volumes; Garden Hill Drive – a quieter street; and the entrance to Southbound State Route 17. A bikeways map published by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority identifies Lark Avenue as a road requiring "moderate caution." It serves as an important link for cyclists heading to the Los Gatos Creek Trail, which has an entrance a short distance from the crash.

According to Harris, the driver sustained some injuries and was taken by ambulance to Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, where an investigating officer was continuing to interview him this afternoon. A decision is expected shortly on whether he will be charged in connection with the crash.

  • Marc Jensen

    The SUV was not out of control. The driver was!

  • Philip de Louraille

    Yes Marc. The SUV was out of control – precisely because the driver had lost control. Condolences to the family of the man who was killed.

  • jOie

    Please, let’s organize a candlelight vigil for this poor soul, and leave a ghostbike at the intersection in his memory. We need local media to convey the severity of this issue and beg drivers to exercise great caution when driver. This story has happened too many times.

  • amjasper

    What a tragedy. As an avid cyclist in Los Gatos, this is something I worry about all the time. How do we arrange for a ghost bike placement?

  • To driver: No, you can’t offset this.

  • Melisa

    that was my cousin on that bike…thank you for the kind words.

  • Christian Estes

    I feel the deepest of sympathies for the Joshua’s family. I also ride in Los Gatos on a regular basis. What a tragedy this is. It’s one thing to be hit while in the bike lane, but another to be hit while riding on the sidewalk. Though we have all lost people dear to us, there is absolutely nothing that can be said or done to offset the pain that his mother and father, and possibly a wife and even children. The loss of a child, a brother, a husband and a father is a horrible thing to bear. My wife and I are sitting here and we feel the sincerest feeling of regret with regard to this tragedy. Hopefully the driver will be punished far greater than that of the police officer that fell asleep at the wheel and killed our friends. This is just so sad and I’m sure that it angers us all.

  • AshleY cushman

    Anyone who would like to help this single father who has left behind the most amazing 7 yo daughter please donate to a college fund at Joshua West Memorial fund at Wells Fargo or using Pay Pal at JoshuaWestMemorialFund@gmail.com.

    Appreciate everday of you and your loved ones lives

  • Clay

    to this comment from Marc Jensen (#1 comment):
    “The SUV was not out of control. The driver was!”

    You are 100% wrong. I was the stationary witness (@90 degrees to the direction of travel) yesterday morning.
    The Blazer was out of control (the driver was no longer driving) at the moment it hit the curb and bounced up onto the sidewalk. The vehicle *was* out of control. It literally bounced through the intersection and impacted the (LARGE) stoplight pole several FEET in the air. That poor man didn’t have a chance. Myself and two other people were the first to check for signs of life, but he was clearly not of this world any longer.
    The sun was really bright, just coming over the raised roadway (over hwy17)..in the direction of the blazer’s travel (directly in the driver’s eyes). It appeared to me that the guy was hauling ass, along with all the other IDIOTS at that intersection but when the rest of the cars bunched up at the intersection (effectively stopping), the driver did not see the brake-lights immediately and when he did, he swerved into the right turn lane…it was a mid-80’s Blazer (the big old box version, not the modern one) and it rolled so much from the sudden lane change that it rocked violent and hit the curb, bouncing onto the sidewalk and instantly ending that poor man’s life. I say “poor man” because of the incident, Clearly he was RICH in spirit and love for his daughter. I am not a religious person, but damn. Something good HAS GOT TO COME FROM THIS. I recommend donating to the fund for his daughter.

    Godspeed.
    Clay

  • chad swanson

    JOSH WAS A GREAT GUY AND DAD IS ALL I HAVE HEARD FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY…….HIS 7 YEAR OLD DAUGHTER WILL BENEFIT FROM ANY AND ALL CONTRIBUTIONS

    JOSHUA WEST MEMORIAL FUND (FOR BRIANNA) AT WELLS FARGO BANK IN LOS GATOS, CA.

    MY HEART GOES OUT TO THE ENTIRE FAMILY

  • Brendon

    Josh was my best friend…. Thank you so much for all of the kind words… He will be dearly missed….

  • Clay, you start by saying it was the SUVs fault, which implies the brakes failed or the accelerator jammed, etc, but then follow through and talk about how the sun was in the way and the driver did not react appropriately!

    You CANNOT drive quickly if you can’t see. Speed limits are not speed minimums, you must slow down when conditions warrant. That’s not a mechanical failure, that’s gross negligence on behalf of the driver.

  • Calvin

    I’m on the fence about God. But I know there are many wonderful helpful humans on this planet. Please share this story to compel others to contribute to this girl’s economic care. It’ll hopefully be one less thing she needs to worry about. My prayers are with her and Josh’s family & friends.

  • Clay

    Jazz, please do not try to put your thoughts out there as my words. I did *NOT* say or imply **ANYTHING** remotely similar to what you are trying to convey as my thoughts/words/intentions with this: “Clay, you start by saying it was the SUVs fault, which implies the brakes failed or the accelerator jammed, etc, but then follow through and talk about how the sun was in the way and the driver did not react appropriately!”

    As I said, I SAW the horrible accident HAPPEN. The guy in the blazer appeared to have been driving along at a fast clip, like most the other cars, but when they all stopped, he happened to have the sun directly in his eyes, due to his hight or whatever (as I was trying to get across the street to help out, I looked to the left and was blinded by the sun). My point about the blazer being out of control is simple: as soon as the driver hit the curb and the truck violently switched directions…at that point the blazer *WAS* out of control….

    At the end of your un-informed opinion you *again* insinuate that I am trying to differ from the idea that the driver was responsible: you are wrong. I did not indicate that! The driver was 100% guilty for causing his death. I did not *ANYWHERE indicate that that mechanical failure was to blame.

    The driver may be a great guy, but he orphaned that beautiful little girl of hers.

    Please drop a few in the fund for her.

    Clay

  • Larry

    Orphaned? Does Brianna have no mother? Are any close relatives able to care for her with help from the fund?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Driver Arrested in Death of Los Gatos Cyclist

|
Click to enlarge. Joshua West and his daughter Briana. Photo: Ashley Cushman The driver of a Chevrolet Blazer who struck and killed a 28-year-old cyclist in Los Gatos has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter. Kevin Darr of San Jose, the 50-year-old driver, was arrested and admitted to the custody ward of Valley Medical […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Colorado Authorities Cite Driver for Cyclist Harassment

|
Despite the number of two-wheeled cop patrols around some cities, police aren’t always the most bike-minded bunch. When there’s a conflict between motorists and cyclists, they’re often inclined to take the motorist’s side. As Streetsblog has reported, police in New York City care more about drunk pedestrians than unsafe drivers, despite the fact that most fatalities are caused by […]