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Bike-riding group mourns death of cyclist killed during Newport Beach ride

July 23, 2010 |  7:44 am

Shawn Nehrir and his son Cole take pictures of a memorial Thursday for Michael Nine, who died on July 15, when the bike he was riding collided with a truck at Spy Glass Hill Road and Harbor Ridge Drive in Newport. Nehrir was a riding partner of Nine.

Friends and members of his bike-riding group held a memorial service Thursday for a bicyclist killed in a Newport Beach traffic accident last week.

Jose Luis Huerta Mundo, 38, is charged with vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence, a misdemeanor, and driving without a valid license. He is accused of illegally turning left on Spyglass Hill Road, a maneuver that caused bicyclist Michael Nine, 43, of Santa Ana, to try and swerve out of the way, hitting Mundo's truck.

The collision occurred at Spyglass Hill and Harbor Ridge Drive, a winding, sloped hill north of Corona del Mar. Nine was riding downhill as part of a morning cycling group when he hit the truck, officials said.

The bicyclist was part of a group of about 40 riders who bike from Tustin through Irvine to Newport Beach and back every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On July 15, Nine and three other lead riders sailed down a right curve on the street at about 40 mph, said fellow rider Jim Weaver of Tustin.

"Normally, it's not problem, but if there's a car stuck in your way on a blind curve, there's not a lot you can do," Weaver said.

Prosecutors said Mundo, a self-employed landscaper, was in the area to do some work and had his truck in the right lane of the street, blocking the riders.

"Our only choices were right, left, or to hit him," Weaver said. "Being there where he was, just a bad spot … it's all things that came together at once. He twists the wrong way, and his helmet didn't help."

Authorities said Nine braked hard, lost control and slammed head-first into the rear of Mundo's landscaping truck. He died an hour later at the hospital.

"Do I want him to be put away for 30 years? No," Weaver said of Mundo. "Do I want him to pay for it and know there's consequences for his actions? Yes."

Read the full story here.

-- Joseph Serna, Daily Pilot

Photo: Shawn Nehrir and his son, Cole, take pictures Thursday of a memorial for Michael Nine, who died on July 15 when the bike he was riding collided with a truck at Spy Glass Hill Road and Harbor Ridge Drive in Newport Beach. Nehrir was a riding partner of Nine. Credit: Scott Smeltzer / Daily Pilot

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