Three people were killed Thursday afternoon in a collision between a bicycle and a sport-utility vehicle in the Arden Arcade area.
The crash occurred shortly before 2:30 p.m. on Howe Avenue near Burney Way. California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Chad Hertzell said a 53-year-old woman was southbound on Howe Avenue north of Burney, riding a bicycle the wrong direction in the northbound bicycle lane, when a 2008 Chevy Tahoe drifted to the left across traffic lanes and struck her.
The rider, who was not wearing a helmet, was thrown more than 100 feet. The SUV ran over the bicycle, but not the cyclist, then hit a tree, Hertzell said. A female passenger in the SUV, who was not wearing a seat belt, struck her head on the windshield and was thrown into the back of the SUV, he said.
Hertzell said the SUV burst into flames when it hit the tree. Witnesses pulled the driver and passenger out of the vehicle and started CPR.
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Keayna Taylor, who lives nearby, said she saw the crash. She estimated the SUV was traveling at least 50 mph when the vehicle in front of it stopped for the traffic light at the crosswalk to Bellview Park.
“When the car stopped, he tried to go around the car,” Taylor said, noting that the SUV driver then lost control of the vehicle.
Roy Sewell, another neighborhood resident, was among those who came to the aid of the victims.
“I was coming through the park when I saw the truck (SUV) spinning out of control and wrap around the tree,” Sewell said.
Sewell said he broke out two front windows to get the driver out.
“I pulled the lady out of the back window,” he said.
Both the bicyclist and the SUV passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the SUV was taken to Mercy San Juan Medical Center and was later pronounced dead.
Hertzell said the ages of the two people in the SUV were not available.
Their names and that of the bicyclist have not been released pending notification of family.
The crash was in front of the park, which is on the east side of Howe Avenue. A bike lane runs along only the east side in that section of Howe Avenue. A traffic signal allows pedestrians to cross Howe midblock to and from the park.
Several neighborhood residents standing outside an apartment complex across the street from the collision scene said they have seen several crashes there.
“People don’t pay attention,” said Natoma Reid, noting that she has lived in the neighborhood for 22 years. “People fly by. They don’t slow down.”
Residents said the screech of brakes is a common sound as motorists traveling too fast try to stop for a red light.
Hertzell said bottles of alcoholic beverages were found in the SUV, and CHP investigators are trying to determine whether alcohol was a factor in the collision. He said a toxicology report on the driver is pending.
Call The Bee’s Cathy Locke, (916) 321-5287.