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Family seeks answers in bike path death of 78-year-old Cudahy man

June 22, 2010 |  9:53 am

Cross_memorial Three weeks after a Cudahy man was killed by a dump truck backing up on the Los Angeles River bike path, his friends and family have more questions than answers.

Karl Weichinger, 78, would walk the L.A. River path just a few blocks from his apartment about four times a week. But when he left for a walk on the afternoon of June 1, he never came back.

The coroner has ruled his death an accident from multiple traumatic injuries, saying a dump truck working on the path near Elizabeth Street was backing up and didn’t see him when it crushed him about 5:06 p.m. He was taken to St. Francis Medical Center and pronounced dead at 5:43 p.m.

But relatives and friends of the retired electrician are convinced workers were being reckless and driving too fast when Weichinger was killed.

Maywood-Cudahy Police Det. Scott Cameron said it will be nearly impossible to determine exactly what happened because there were no independent witnesses. The driver, who worked for the Corona-based firm All American Asphalt, told police he did not see Weichinger. The investigation, which included an inspection of the truck, found no evidence the driver was traveling more than 5 mph.

“There have been some people out there saying they saw the vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed,” Cameron said. “To this date I have yet to interview or find anyone that can substantiate it.”

Friends set up a memorial with candles, photos and a large white cross on the bike path a few days after Weichinger’s death.

His son, Alfredo Weichinger of Santa Maria, used a marker to write a sign pleading for witnesses to come forward and left a clipboard for people to write down anything they saw.

“Any information on workers and how they were driving when my dad was killed. Please. Please call me,” it read.

Alfredo said his father will be remembered as a gregarious man who was active in retiree circles and looked forward to his routine of going swimming and walking several times a week to stay in shape.

Alfredo is staying in his father’s apartment and has hired a wrongful death attorney while he waits for a police report on what happened.

“I would like justice. I want the real story,” Alfredo said. “This could happen to anybody.”

--Tony Barboza

Photo: A memorial set up on the Los Angeles River bike path a few days after Karl Weichinger died. Credit: Courtesy of Alfredo Weichinger.