Willits’s Main Street was busy with traffic on Monday morning, September 19 when tragedy struck. A man on a bicycle was pedaling south when he beelined across the roadway and was clipped by a vehicle driving north. The man was thrown from the bicycle sustaining major head injuries after hitting the ground. As of yesterday afternoon, the cyclist has yet to regain consciousness since the accident and remains in a coma at a Santa Rosa Hospital.
Main Street was full of parents and students heading to school that morning. A Facebook post from Baechtel Grove Middle School confirmed that some of their students witnessed the accident. The post reassured the community that counselors were available for any student in need.
Willits Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga told us the incident occurred around 7:45 a.m. just south of Highway 20 and Main Street intersection. The man that was struck and is now hospitalized was known to WPD for often cycling around town. He told us officers could never tie the man to a confirmed address, implying he was homeless
On the morning of the accident, the cyclist made the maneuver into the other lane so quickly that Chief Lizarraga said the driver that hit him did not see him until the subject was in front of him in the northbound lane. The cyclist and the vehicle would collide causing the cyclist to “hit his head pretty hard”, Chief Lizarraga said, and “not regaining consciousness.”
No criminal charges have been considered as investigators have looked into the collision. The driver was not cited and the bicyclist was not wearing a helmet. At this point, the incident is considered an accident, Chief Lizzaraga confirmed.
In light of the accident Chief Lizarraga asks the public to always use crosswalks and be aware of the speed of drivers in that area of Main Street, a busy intersection for commuters and community members alike.