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Homeless man killed in accident on bike trail

A pedestrian killed in an accident with a bicyclist on the Santa Ana River bike trail was remembered by friends.

Johnathan "Johnny" Coontz, 58, died at 6:58 p.m. Friday at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, about an hour after a bicyclist hit him near where Atlanta Avenue meets the bike trail in Huntington Beach, according to the Orange County coroner's office.

Coontz was homeless, and court records show several convictions for drinking in public, among other offenses.

A fellow student described Coontz as a joker and skilled athlete who could do wheelies and other acrobatics on his Schwinn Stingray bike in junior high.

"He seemed to make friends with everybody," said Gilbert Barnes, who now lives in San Diego. "He just had that personality."

Many classmates remembered Coontz for his surfing prowess.

His signature move was to walk the nose of an old longboard dangerously close to the rocks near the jetty in Newport Beach, striking a cheater five position before backpedaling, then dropping back into a bottom turn, former classmate David Kitchens said by phone from Henderson, Nev.

"We had a lot of good times together as kids," he said.


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--Lauren Williams, Times Community News

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