LAPD searching for driver who struck and killed bicyclist with stolen pickup truck in downtown L.A.

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Police are searching for a driver who struck and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist while speeding in a stolen pickup truck in downtown Los Angeles Saturday morning.

The owner of a white 2010 Toyota Tacoma was making a delivery in the 900 block of Wilshire Boulevard when he was approached by someone who asked for a ride just before 8 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. When the pickup truck owner refused, the person got into the vehicle and locked himself inside.

The owner tried to get to him by climbing onto the bed of the truck and reaching for the door, but the other person drove off at a high speed, prompting the owner to jump off fearing for his life.

The perpetrator kept going, driving onto Seventh Street, where he was weaving in and out of traffic, speeding and driving on the opposite side of the road, police said, describing witness accounts.

Just as he approached Olive Street, he slammed into a bicyclist at a high speed, police said.

The bicyclist landed on the hood of the truck, and the driver kept going eastbound on Seventh Street.

LAPD released these surveillance images of a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash in downtown Los Angeles Jan. 16, 2021.
LAPD released these surveillance images of a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash in downtown Los Angeles Jan. 16, 2021.

The victim fell from the truck near Hill Street — about 150 feet from where he was hit, according to LAPD.

Witnesses called for help, but paramedics couldn’t save the man’s life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials didn’t identify the victim, but Ride for Black Lives said he was Branden Finley, a member of the group.

The suspect driver continued, eventually crashing again into two other vehicles before he ditched the truck.

Video surveillance captured him taking off in a blue hooded sweatshirt and putting on a white one, police said.

He was last seen also wearing black pants and was barefoot. LAPD described him as being 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 150 to 160 pounds.

He may also have injuries to his head from hitting the windshield during the second collision.

LAPD said a $50,000 reward is available for information on the suspect.

A large group gathered for a vigil for Finley at the corner of Seventh and Hill streets Saturday evening, and among them was his daughter.

Branden Finley, 46, is seen in an undated photo provided by friends.
Branden Finley, 46, is seen in an undated photo provided by friends.

“I’m just sad that it happened to my dad, but I want to be strong for him, for my family,” said Koi, his daughter. “And I just want to make sure that I get justice, that’s what I want. I will not stop, I will not breathe or eat, until I get justice for my dad.”

Friends say the 46-year-old father was on his way to meet friends when he was killed.

Anyone with information on the hit-and-run driver is asked to call LAPD Detective Juan Campos at 213- 833-3713 or email 31480@lapd.online. During weekends and off-hours, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.

Those who prefer to provide information anonymously can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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