Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Cyclist run down and killed on South Union; the second Kern County cyclist killed within 72 hours
Received some horrible news this afternoon when I learned that Alton Saceaux, a 55-year-old local cyclist, was run down and killed on South Union Monday night. I didn't know Alton well but did know him from the occasional ride (I am also a cyclist) and last saw him in Starbucks on California Avenue and Stockdale about a month ago. Alton was always - and I mean always - utterly upbeat and effervescent. The guy loved cycling and personal fitness was a his lifelong personal mission. The cops say the guy who ran him down was likely drunk. This is a tragedy of enormous proportions: we lost a friend, a good man, a father of a couple kids, a husband, a good citizen. Kerry Ryan, owner of Action Sports over off Brimhall Road, knew Alton since 1994 and described him as "incredibly upbeat, high energy type of guy, always trying to get people into cycling, kind of a Norm Hoffman kind of guy." Norm of course was the longtime cyclist and Bakersfield College professor who died when his bike was crushed by a driver off Fairfax Road in 2001. (no alcohol involved in that) Added Kerry of Alton:
"He crewed on the 2004 Race Across America (which Action Sports won) and he was just always upbeat and willing to do anything. He'd come into the store and say 'Kerry we need to get so and so on a bike! He wants to get in shape.""
Alton is the second Kern County cyclist to die on a bike in just a few days. The other death happened in Malibu and has yet to be reported by the local press, but it involved a Tehachapi man who was completing a "double century ride" (that's a 200 mile ride) with his 14-year-old son on the back of a tandem. According to a story in the Ventura County Star, Rodrigo "Rod" Armas, 45, died at the scene after his bike was hit about 1:30 a.m. Sunday on Pacific Coast Highway. His 14-year-old son was injured but is expected to recover. You might ask why they were riding in the dark so early in the morning. The reason: these 200-mile rides take all day and last into the night, certainly dangerous in any circumstances. Once again, the cops say the man who hit the cyclists showed signs of being legally drunk. And so it goes. We lose another one. Thoughts for the families. (photo courtesy of The Bakersfield Californian)