Officials and witnesses say a group of about 100 bicyclists on a midnight ride in Los Angeles were mowed down by a suspected drunken driver who was using a cell phone.
Los Angeles fire spokesman Erik Scott said nine bicyclists were hurt, six of them seriously, when a car slammed into the group early Thursday. The crash in the 5900 block of West Jefferson Place near the Los Angeles-Culver City line was reported at 1:49 a.m., said Scott. The injured were taken to various area hospitals.
Christine Elizabeth Dahab, 27, was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence, said Officer Lyle Knight, a Los Angeles Police Department spokesman. According to Los Angeles County Jail records, Dahab was released just before 11:30 a.m.
Witnesses tell KTTV Fox 11 that the driver was on the phone when she crashed into the group of bicyclists. Cyclists who had ridden from Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Avenue in Westlake were stopped on the side of the road when Dahab, driving a white Honda Civic, crashed into the group, CBS2 reported. One cyclist told CBS2 that Dahab's car jumped a curb and slammed into the crowd at about 60 miles per hour.
Knight, describing the investigation as being in a "very fluid" state, said investigators are trying to determine whether the cyclists contributed to the accident by blocking the road.
The cyclists were members of a loosely knit cycling group known as "Midnight Ridazz." The Koreatown bicycling group gets together for weekly midnight rides in the city. Their website emphasizes safety in cycling and directs visitors and prospective riders to a report on safe biking entitled "Bicycling Street Smarts."
The area near Jefferson Boulevard and Rodeo Road was closed while LAPD's South Traffic Division investigated the accident.
Anyone with information on the accident was urged to call the LAPD's South Traffic Division at (213) 485-7336.