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Police Seek Help Finding Hit-and-Run Driver After Bicyclist's Death

Authorities are searching for a dark-colored Dodge Ram pickup truck with damage to the passenger side headlight area.

Authorities asked the public for help Monday in identifying a motorist who fled the scene of a collision that killed a bicyclist in Leucadia over the weekend.

James Steven Swarzman, a 47-year-old bicyclist from Encino, was killed early Sunday morning by a hit-and-run driver who was last seen driving northbound on Highway 101, according to the Sheriff's Department.

Swarzman and two other cyclists were riding northbound in the right lane near the 1200 block of Highway 101 around 1 a.m. when a vehicle struck him from behind, Encinitas Traffic Deputy Yvan Rogers said.

Mercy Air transported Swarzman to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where he was pronounced dead at 4:09 a.m. despite aggressive resuscitation efforts, according to the medical examiner’s office.

It was originally reported that the suspect vehicle was a late model Ford F-150, but after further investigation and analysis of the evidence found at the scene, the Sheriff's Department has identified the vehicle as a 2007-08 Dodge Ram 1500 or 2007-09 Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500.  The suspect truck will have damage to the passenger side headlight area.

"According to the witness that was in the area, there was a dark-colored Dodge pickup truck in the right lane behind the bicyclists," Rogers said. "The vehicle started to drift in the middle of the one and two lanes, essentially straddling both lanes, struck one of the bicyclists and continued on."

Rogers said the cyclists were training to improve their standings for an upcoming race.

"I guess it's pretty common for bicyclists to be out at all hours of the day or night training to improve some of their times," he said.

According to Rogers, the witness at the scene said he was able to see the cyclists clearly.

"All three riders were lit up with reflective gear as well as flashing lights, and apparently the bicyclists were also illuminated by the headlights of the suspect vehicle," Rogers said.

At this time, the Sheriff's Department does not have any leads on a suspect, and it remains unknown whether alcohol was a factor in the collision.

"Right now, we're just looking at felony hit-and-run," Rogers said.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the Sheriff’s Department at 858-565-5200 or Crime Stoppers at 888-580-8477.

Steve Shackelton April 11, 2011 at 06:51 PM
SAD.......really and not to even stop is disturbing. The new 101 streetscape has designated 6'-8' wide bike lanes going North and South. We need to remember to share the street with bikers - its their street too.
Jeff April 12, 2011 at 06:01 PM
Very sad, probably a drunk driver. I hope they catch this person!
Cyclist April 13, 2011 at 07:55 PM
As cyclist I feel there is no place for any bicycle on the freeway, day or night. This is crazy. I think it's also against the law.
Deanne Goodman (Editor) April 13, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Many cyclists ride Highway 101 safely and legally, it's not the same as riding the 5 freeway for example.

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