CALIMESA, California (Jan. 13, 2014) — Phillip Richards, 64, of Beaumont died Saturday afternoon roughly two weeks after he was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver who struck his bicycle on Dec. 29 at the intersection of Calimesa Boulevard and Singleton Road, according to a press release by the Riverside County Sheriff Coroner.
Additionally, last week on Jan. 6, 2014, police tracked down and arrested the suspected hit-and-run driver identified as William Donald Johnson, 42, of Calimesa and booked him into the Smith Correctional Facility on charges of felony hit and run.
According to police, Johnson was allegedly driving a green 2005 Ford 500 heading northbound on Calimesa Boulevard when for unknown reasons he veered across the center divider and drove head on into the Richards who was riding his bicycle in the opposite direction, the report said. Johnson then fled the scene and left the injured man in the street.
Paramedics responding to the crash and quickly transported the bicyclist to Riverside County Regional Medical Center where he fought to stay alive for nearly two weeks, but later died on Jan. 11, 2014. His death is the 89th bicycle fatality in Southern California, according to bikinginla.com.
In the days following the bicycle crash, Riverside police were searching for the suspect described as an elderly white or Hispanic male with white hair in a small compact green or blue 4-door car.
On Jan. 6, about noon, a Riverside deputy spotted a vehicle that matched the description and had damage that was consistent with evidence gathered at the scene of the bicycle accident. The car was parked in a driveway in the 1200 block of Cherry Lane in Calimesa. Police identified William Donald Johnson, who has white hair and is the car’s owner, as the driver who fled the scene of the bicycle accident.
If you have more information about this accident please contact police at 951-922-7100.
“Hit-and-run drivers are not only cowards, but under California law they are also criminals because they are required to render aid to victims and call for police,” said Attorney West Seegmiller. “There is not only a lawful duty, but a moral duty to help someone who is injured. This driver should be held responsible for his actions.”
(Copyright ©2014 The Seegmiller Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.)