As he does each week, David Joshel biked Putah Creek Road east of Winters on Thursday, a day after a hit-and-run collision on the well-known route claimed the life of a 72-year-old cyclist from Alamo.
“You could see where the (vehicle’s) skid marks went over the center line, and it almost hit a walnut tree in the orchard,” said Joshel, a Davis resident and member of the Davis Bike Club’s board of directors. “It’s upsetting. It makes you realize it can happen anywhere.”
Dan Taylor, a retired Air Force colonel and member of the Benicia Bike Club, was identified by Solano County coroner’s officials as the victim of Wednesday’s crash, which occurred shortly before 5 p.m. on Putah Creek Road about a mile east of Interstate 505.
According to California Highway Patrol officers investigating the fatality, Taylor was riding solo eastbound on a stretch of roadway that bisects orchards in the area when he was struck by a westbound vehicle that crossed into the eastbound lane at an estimated 55 to 60 mph.
The impact propelled Taylor over the vehicle and onto the dirt in an adjacent orchard, where he was later pronounced dead of multiple internal and head injuries, the CHP reported. The vehicle, whose driver remained at large as of this morning, continued into the orchard, where it nearly struck a tree before continuing westbound toward Winters.
Although there were no apparent witnesses to the collision, evidence collected at the scene suggests the suspect was driving a light-colored vehicle of unknown make, CHP Officer Christopher Parker said today.
Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call the Solano CHP at 707-428-2100, or Solano Crime Stoppers at 707-644-7867. Callers may remain anonymous.
Parker said Taylor is believed to have been warming up for a timed race event in the area, based on his aerodynamic helmet and the specialized bike he was riding that day. Joshel confirmed that a time trial event sponsored by local organizations was scheduled for Wednesday, but it had been canceled.
“This fellow probably didn’t get the news, or he came out anyway to practice,” said Joshel, who did not know Taylor. “It’s a real tragedy — whenever you see something like that in the paper, it’s just like, ‘Oh my God, another one.’ You just have to be really mindful when you’re out there, be careful at all times.”
Meanwhile, the Davis Bike Club has reached out to the Benicia Bike Club’s members, inviting them to join local cyclists participating in the Ride of Silence, a worldwide event honoring those who have been injured or killed while bicycling on public roadways.
The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 21.
— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene