A bicyclist was killed and another was seriously injured early Wednesday in a hit-and-run crash in Winnetka that a witness described as “on purpose.”
Los Angeles Police Department investigators are working to determine if the driver intentionally struck the cyclists.
The crash was reported about 12:45 a.m. in the 6500 block of Winnetka Avenue, according to LAPD.
Both bicyclists were traveling north on Winnetka Avenue when they were struck by a utility truck in the No. 3 lane, Capt. Paul Vernon told KTLA.
The driver, believed to be a man in his 30s or 40s, swerved and crashed into one bicyclist, then the other, a witness told police. He then stopped and looked at the scene before leaving the area at a normal rate of speed, officials said.
“I’m sure it was done on purpose,” a witness who gave his name as Vladimir told a freelance news photographer on scene. “After he look at them and see them down on the ground, he just left.”
Vladimir said he was driving behind when he saw the collision.
“He was driving behind the bicyclists. He saw them, he changed the lane on purpose, hit them from the behind,” Vladimir said. “Run over the bicycles and took off.”
The victims were taken to a hospital, where one of them died. The other bicyclist suffered serious injuries, police said.
“The question is what was behind the intent of doing this. Was it intentional, was it accidental, drunk driver or otherwise or was it intentional?” Vernon said. “What we do know is the driver left without rendering aid, without identifying himself and that is against the law.”
The roadway has three lanes in each direction and a center turn lane at the site of the crash.
The suspect vehicle is described as a Ford or Chevrolet pickup truck with tool beds on the side and possibly some collision damage, Vernon said.
The driver is described as having close cropped hair or a shaved head and facial hair.
The victims were on their way home from working at a restaurant at Ventura Boulevard and Tampa Avenue.
Another driver, who apparently witnessed the crash, stopped and remained at the scene.
KTLA’s Alberto Mendez contributed to this story.