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Man arrested in fatal hit-and-run of Newport Beach cyclist

September 18, 2012 | 12:07 pm

Cyclist killed
Newport Beach police arrested a suspect believed to have hit and killed a physician riding her bike Saturday morning, police said.

Michael Jason Lopez, 39, of Anaheim, is believed to have driven a full-sized black truck in the crash that killed 57-year-old Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, Newport Beach police said.

The accident occurred four miles from her home. She was riding with another cyclist when she was struck about 9:45 a.m. on Newport Coast and Ocean Ridge drives, police said. The other cyclist was not injured.

Lopez, who allegedly fled the scene, was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, according to police. He was booked at the Newport Beach jail and was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.

Campion Ritz was president of Great Newport Physicians for 18 years, the Daily Pilot reported.

"Dr. Kit Campion was a warm, engaging leader, respected and loved by her patients, physician colleagues, nurses and healthcare professionals throughout Orange County," said Diane Laird, chief executive of Greater Newport Physicians, which has more than 550 members. "She worked tirelessly to ensure that members of all the communities we serve had access to the best healthcare.

"Dr. Campion cared for thousands of patients over the last three decades and played an important role in the health of so many Orange County families."


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-- Lauren Williams, Times Community News

Photo: A visitor pauses at the Ghost Bike-style memorial site on Newport Coast Drive on Monday for Dr. Catherine "Kit" Campion Ritz, who police say was killed by a hit-and-run driver Saturday. Credit: Don Leach / Times Community News