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CHP continues to search for driver who caused fatal accident

Five killed in crash with 7 motorcycles

California Highway Patrol officers on Sunday continued their search for the driver of a gold Honda Accord they think caused an accident in Imperial County that killed five people and injured six.

Four of the dead belonged to a motorcycle club called the Saddle Tramps, based in Lakeside in northeast San Diego County, CHP Officer DeeAnn Goudie said. The accident occured while the club was celebrating its 10th anniversary Saturday with a ride across the desert, she said.

Goudie said at least 12 members of the motorcycle club met around 9 a.m. for breakfast in Lakeside before hitting the road. About 12:50 p.m. they were riding east on California 98 near Ocotillo, about 80 miles from San Diego, when the Honda pulled up behind the motorcyclists and passed them in the oncoming lane.

At the same time, a white Dodge Avenger heading toward the motorcyclists swerved to avoid the oncoming Honda. Goudie said the driver lost control and crashed into six motorcyclists, killing four of them. Authorities say the Honda driver caused the crash and continuing heading east.

Among those killed were a husband and wife riding the same bike, Goudie said. The names of the dead were not released Sunday pending notification of their relatives.

The CHP identified the driver of the Dodge as Carlos Ramirez Bobadilla, 36, of Mexicali, Mexico. His wife was among those killed.

The injured were airlifted or taken by ambulance to UC San Diego Medical Center and the El Centro Regional Medical Center, according to Goudie.

Those hospitalized were Wilson Trayer, 39, of Lakeside, Kelly Halley, 42, of Santee; William Barnes, 57, and Melanie Barnes, 46, both of San Diego. A fifth survivor, John Lombardo, 55, was released from El Centro Medical Center on Sunday afternoon.

CHP Officer Wes Boerner said there were no obvious indications of Bobadilla driving under the influence. However, he was given a blood test to determine if drugs or alcohol were involved, Boerner said.

News of the fatal accident gradually spread through the motorcycle community. "It's just sad," said Chris Zurn of the Orange County nonprofit group Two Wheels, One Heart. "Whether it's a CHP officer who goes down on his bike, a one-bike-and-car accident, it's just very saddening."

Ed Carroll, chapter director of the Gold Wing Road Riders Assn. in San Diego, said he heard about the fatal crash Saturday night. "We are really upset over it," Carroll said. "It reminds us that we can sometimes be at the end of someone's mistake and that they can get away with it."

Authorities did not know the year of the gold Honda that caused the accident car or its license plate number.

There are about 1.2 million licensed motorcyclists in the state, according to the CHP. The number of people killed or injured in motorcycle-involved collisions has increased during the past decade. According to the CHP, 586 people were killed and another 13,252 people injured in 2008, the latest year information was available.

-- Ruben Vives

Photo: Scene of accident in Imperial County. Credit: KTLA News

Comments () | Archives (10)

I feel bad for the guy who swerved to miss the oncoming Honda & instead hit/killed the motorcycle gang. What else could he do without a flying car?

So the driver of the Honda was brave enough to attempt a dangerous pass but was too cowardly to stay after causing the accident. What a man. Hope you're proud of yourself. Loser.

Passing on a 2 lane road is tricky. Cars approaching are closing in at 100 mph (your speed + their speed) while your passing speed could be as low as 5 or 10 mph which means you are crawling past the car you are trying to pass. A common mistake is for a driver to speed up to pass rather than back off and get back behind. If you tap the brake and get back behind the car you were tryin to pass, you will be safe within a second. If you try to speedup and get in front, it will take 4 or 5 seconds while you will be closing the gap with the oncoming car faster (already closing in 100 mph or higher) while slowly crawling past the car on your right. The approaching car will collide with you much faster than you estimated.

"...we can sometimes be at the end of someone's mistake and that they can get away with it."

Sometimes? More like all the time. I've seen it far too often, whether it be on the road or in our economy. It's to each their own; tough to find responsible, courteous citizens nowadays.

My condolences to the victims and their families.

Ride in Peace, Riders.

Bicyclists and motorcyclists should unite. They are both at the mercy of reckless drivers.

My thoughts and heart go out to the families of those injured and those that lost their lives in a senseless, worthless, pointless, never-should-have-happened accident. I hope we find the person who did this. I know I will keep my eyes out for any gold Honda and report it.

To anyone who owns a gold Honda and is inconvenienced, sorry if you get reported, but please take it in stride as part of an important investigation to find a human scumbag and get him/her off the streets.

Just friday an insane woman in her Lexus SUV pulled a similar pass nearly hitting me. She was angry she was stuck behind a truck. The scene happened near a busy intersection in the middle of a business district. People calm down and learn patience. Is it worth killing someone because you have to drive fast and reckless?
Lets all be calm and courteous when we drive, and slow down!

The number of motorcyclists killed, and its increase, has little meaning if it is not put into context as a percentage of the licensed motorcyclist population.

If the driver of that gold Honda has any honor, he should come forward.

This is crazy! This is murder, plain and simple. The Honda driver should be arrested and brought to book. people driving hondas think they own the road and are the dumbest drivers on the road as evidenced by the choice of their vehicle make. dumb honda drivers :-<


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