Tragic Motorcyclist Death on West Point Loma Blvd Echos Dangers of Intersection

by on January 25, 2018 · 8 comments

in Ocean Beach

Intersection at West Pt Loma Blvd and Abbott St., looking southwest; the double-yellow line continues onto Abbott, where there is a Yield sign for motorists traveling north on Abbott; West Pt Loma itself continues to the right in this photo, where there is a Stop sign going in the opposite direction. Motorists on West Pt Loma going in the direction of the photo have the right-of-way.

Tragedy struck the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard Wednesday, Jan. 24th, when a motorcyclist lost control of his Harley-Davidson and collided with an oncoming Ford Escape; the  unidentified man died from his injuries.

It’s reported “The 53-year-old man was riding to the east on a curving stretch of roadway in the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard shortly before 2 p.m.” when the collision occurred, according to San Diego police. He ended up slamming onto the concrete and sliding into a parked vehicle.

“Medics took the victim to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead from severe head trauma and internal injuries. His name was withheld pending family notification.”

The driver of the Ford was apparently not injured.  Fox5

This intersection – West Pt Loma and Abbott Street – has been called dangerous before. Just last night, Wednesday, Jan. 24th, a resident who lives on that street publicly complained during the OB Town Council meeting of the dangers of that section of the boulevard. She claimed that the motorcyclist’s death was the second death of a motorist at that location in 4-5 years, that another one occurred in 2013.

In fact, in September 2012, this reporter wrote a post entitled, “Confusing Street Signs Make for a Dangerous Intersection at West Point Loma and Abbott Street”.

Now, the signs at the intersection may not have been a factor in the recent motorcyclist’s tragic and fatal injuries – and there is no evidence they were, but local residents who live near the intersection say there’s constant accidents there.

Here’s excerpts from the Sept 2012 article:

A recent article in the San Diego Reader about another accident at the intersection of West Point Loma and Abbott Street points out its dangerous nature. Mercy Baron … reported on September 24th [2012] that the day before a bicyclist was run into by a car at the intersection.

As Baron pointed out – and as all local residents know – there are conflicting and confusing street signs at the intersection. If you are on West Point Loma going west, you can either turn left onto Abbott or go straight without restrictions. Cars going in the other direction have a Stop sign at that intersection. But on Abbott there is a Yield sign. People driving east on West Point Loma may not know there is that Yield sign and may assume it’s a Stop sign. At any rate, sometimes, cars will drive right in front of other vehicles going west on West Point Loma.

Baron spoke to local residents Audrey Stratton and Lindsay Huston, whose apartment is right next to the intersection. They say there are “many accidents”. Mercy reported:

Stratton and Huston said they heard the accident and the bicyclist scream, “Oh, my God!” They claim there have been at least four accidents there in the past six months. They said one accident involved a small boy on a bike where fire trucks, police, and ambulances were called to the scene. They said no one seems to know that you slow down for a yield sign.

Stratton said she has called the city’s traffic department to request a stop sign be installed; she said she left a voice mail and her call was never returned.

In the accident reported by Baron, it sounds like the signs added to the confused moment when made contact. The driver did stop and the bicyclist did not appear to have serious injuries except a bloody rash on her back and being badly shaken up.

Again, there is no relation between the most recent death and accidents at the intersection that many residents say have been going on for years. And, not all local residents think it’s a dangerous intersection.

 

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Mercy Baron OB Mercy January 25, 2018 at 2:44 pm

So sad. I wrote about another horrific fatal accident there 5 yrs for the Reader. https://m.sandiegoreader.com/news/2013/apr/22/stringers-deadly-car-crash-ocean-beach/

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 25, 2018 at 3:39 pm

Thank you, that’s the fatal crash the woman at the OBTC meeting was referring to.

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Dr. Jack Hammer January 26, 2018 at 6:17 am

I certainly agree that that intersection is outrageously dangerous. However, the crash was West of the intersection, closer to the beach entrance at Voltaire. According to the Fox News story, he was coming East from Dog Beach. Wondering if he stopped at Spray and Voltaire….or if he ran that stop sign, making speed a factor.

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Kathy January 27, 2018 at 3:57 pm

A witness said he accelerated in front of her when she crossed Abbott on foot, then he took a right on Voltaire before he went right on WPL.

Looks like he went around the block from WPL to Abbott to Voltaire & back on WPL where he failed to negotiate the curve just past Lotus. Spray is a short stretch of road before it turns into WPL where the stop sign at Dog Beach/Voltaire is, so it doesn’t appear he took the Spray Street route.

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Geoff Page January 26, 2018 at 9:32 am

And what helmet was he wearing that he suffered severe head injuries? Was it one of those illegal skull caps?

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie January 26, 2018 at 11:21 am

From Times of San Diego:
Authorities Friday identified a 53-year-old motorcyclist who was killed in a collision this week near the waterfront in Ocean Beach.

El Cajon resident Ronald Ray Hegwood was riding to the east on a curving stretch of roadway in the 5100 block of West Point Loma Boulevard shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday when he lost control of his Harley-Davidson and collided with an oncoming Ford Escape, according to San Diego Police.

Hegwood, who was wearing a helmet, tumbled onto the street and slid into a parked vehicle, Officer Tony Martinez said.

Paramedics took the badly injured victim to UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest, where he was pronounced dead “despite advanced life-saving measures,” according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office. Hegwood died from multiple blunt force injuries, including severe head trauma and internal injuries. No other injuries were reported in the crash. https://timesofsandiego.com/crime/2018/01/26/motorcyclist-killed-crash-near-waterfront-ocean-beach-idd/

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Val January 26, 2018 at 11:27 am

I live right by that intersection. Daily I hear the blare of a horn from a car taking the curve on West Point Loma and the car at the stop sign not waiting for them. Just simply going when it is not clear. I avoid the intersection altogether, which is pain in the ass, but saves me grief. The stop sign needs lights and maybe a sign saying yield to oncoming cars. I don’t know, but something needs to change.

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Bryan B. January 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm

The accident occurred heading east on W. Pt. Loma. with the crash happening between 5124 and 5128 W. Pt. Loma. it had nothing to do with the W. pt. / Abbot stop. It appeared from my vantage point that Mr. Hegwood may have under calculated the approach of the curve heading east away from dog beach and crossed into the on coming west bound lane.

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