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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on September 30th, 2015, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 16, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 16, Issue 30

CHP releases name of bicyclist killed Sept. 18 on Highway 154

By DAVID MINSKY

The California Highway Patrol identified the bicyclist who was struck and killed on Highway 154 near Lake Cachuma on Sept. 18 as Reyes Cabrera of Lompoc. 

According to the CHP, Cabrera was riding a bicycle at 9 a.m. on eastbound Highway 154 when a black Toyota 4Runner driven by 30-year-old Santa Maria resident Mikhail Panko attempted to pass Cabrera from behind. 

"For unknown reasons, a collision occurred between the SUV and the bicyclist, which resulted in fatal injuries to the rider of the bicycle," said CHP officer Felipe Hernandez. 

Cabrera died soon after the collision. A section of Highway 154 near the accident scene was closed for a short time while officers investigated the collision. 

It’s not clear if either Panko or Cabrera were intoxicated at the time of the collision, Hernandez said, adding that the incident remains under investigation. 

A Go Fund Me page was set up by members of Cabrera’s family to collect donations for his funeral costs, which can run into the thousands of dollars. According to the page, Cabrera died on his deceased father’s birthdate. 

Santa Barbara County is high on the list of counties in the state with traffic collisions involving bicycles. According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, the county ranks third in the state for the highest number of vehicle and bicycle collisions. In 2012 there were 277 bicyclists either killed or injured in the county. 

California itself leads the nation with the most traffic deaths involving bicycles. According to an October 2014 report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, bicycle traffic fatalities increased by 16 percent between the years 2010 and 2012, with 338 bicyclists killed in that time period.










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