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Irvine doctor killed while cycling; D.A. charges motorist

Michael Lopez

The Orange County district attorney's office announced charges Wednesday against a man accused of hitting a Newport Beach doctor with a truck and fleeing.

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim faces one felony count of hit-and-run causing death and one misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, according to the D.A.'s office.

Authorities said Lopez was driving a full-sized black pickup truck in the Saturday collision that killed Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, Newport police said.

Lopez was arrested at 2 a.m. on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to police.

He was booked at Newport Beach jail and held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Campion Ritz, an Irvine resident who was president of Greater Newport Physicians for 18 years, died at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo about four hours after the collision. She practiced at Newport Family Medicine.

Colleagues and a family member described Campion Ritz, 57, as a dedicated and compassionate physician who enjoyed the outdoors. She avidly kayaked, biked, snow-shoed and hiked, and had traveled extensively with her husband, Patrick Ritz.

A Ghost Bike-style memorial with a white bicycle, flowers, candles and a white helmet has been placed on Newport Coast Drive in memory of Campion Ritz.

— Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: Michael Lopez Credit: Orange County district attorney’s  office

 
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