11/15/2019 3:09AM A hit and run motorist drifted (or otherwise was driving) in the Bike Lane, northbound S Park Ave near E 27th St, Tucson and killed 45 y.o. bicyclist Michael Noriega.
HIT AND RUN BE ON THE LOOKOUT: suspect vehicle: dark-colored pickup truck similar in style to a Ford Ranger. See something say something; a sharp eyed neighbor enabled police to make arrest in ped-fatal hit/run in Chandler a few weeks ago.
Overall this is a relatively unlikely spot for a strike-from-behind; posted 35mph 3-lane (1 general purpose lane each direction + TWTL ) collector adjaent to residential. Other factors, though are correlated: darkness (bicyclist’s lighting conditions were not stated) + early morning (higher rates of impairment) + h/r driver (likely motorist impairment).
2019 is on-pace to be a record setting (in a bad way) year for Tucson traffic fatalities; police list a summary in the footer of the news release (a nice touch, thank you TPD). Despite sharply fewer vehicle occupant deaths, the totals a sharp rise in motorcycle + pedestrian more than offset, and are already above 2018 levels.
In a tangentially related topic — i mean it has no bearing on why a possibly impaired, hit and run driver struck a bicyclist here — it’s been some years since I’ve checked on the status of bike lanes in Tucson — it appears this isn’t a bike lane but rather there’s a white stripe (which would make that an edge line), there are green/white “Bike Route” signs; but I don’t see any black/white “bike lane” signs or stencils on the pavement (though they often get worn away). These are frequently referred to colloquially as “bike shoulders” which is a more-or-less meaningless term. Edge lines are generally not supposed to be used on urban streets.
FATAL HIT & RUN BICYCLE COLLISION
EAST 27TH STREET AND SOUTH PARK AVENUE
The Tucson Police Department is investigating a fatal hit & run bicycle collision that occurred this morning on Tucson’s
On November 15, 2019, at 3:09 a.m., officers from Operations Division South and the Tucson Fire Department were dispatched to the intersection of East 27th Street and South Park Avenue for a report of a serious injury hit and run collision involving a bicyclist. Tucson Fire responded rendered aid to the cyclist and transported the adult male to Banner University Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Shortly after arriving at the hospital, the cyclist identified as 45-year-old Eric Michael Noriega was pronounced deceased from the injuries he sustained in this collision. Mr. Noriega’s
next of kin was notified.
Traffic Detectives with the Tucson Police Department responded to continue the investigation. After examining roadway
evidence and speaking with witnesses, it was determined Mr. Noriega was riding his bicycle northbound on Park Avenue
in the bike lane. The suspect vehicle, described as a dark-colored pickup truck similar in style to a Ford Ranger, was also
northbound on Park Avenue. The vehicle struck Mr. Noriega on his bike from behind and continued northbound on Park
Avenue without stopping. Mr. Noriega was not wearing a helmet at the time of this collision.
Detectives determined through interviews and roadway evidence that speed appears to be a factor in this collision.
This is an ongoing investigation and no charges or citations have been issued as of today’s date. Detectives are asking
anyone with information regarding this incident to please call 88-CRIME. You can remain anonymous.
Traffic Fatalities Year to Date:
For 2018 – 64 For 2019 – 65
Pedestrian – 28 Pedestrian – 33
Bicycle – 4 Bicycle – 5
Motorcycle – 6 Motorcycle – 10
Vehicle – 26 Vehicle – 17