Motorcycle Crash Kills 5

November 15, 2010 by USA Post 

Motorcycle Crash Kills 5, (CP) – A man was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence after he slammed his car head-on into a group of motorcycle riders celebrating their club’s 10th anniversary, killing four motorcyclists and his companion, authorities said Sunday.

The driver, Carlos Ramirez Bobadilla, was among six people injured in Saturday’s crash on a remote desert highway, said California Highway Patrol Officer DeeAnn Goudie. Ramirez, 36, was recovering from hand fractures at a San Diego hospital.

The arrest was made when officers smelled alcohol on his breath about five hours after the crash, Goudie said. Results of a blood test were pending.

It is unclear if the driver’s alleged alcohol consumption contributed to the collision, Goudie said, but he was arrested on a misdemeanour and is not being held responsible for the deaths based on evidence collected so far.

Authorities were looking for the driver of a gold Honda Civic who forced Ramirez off the road when trying to pass the motorcyclists on the undivided two-lane highway east of San Diego.

Ramirez, of Mexicali, Mexico, swerved his white Dodge Avenger to the right shoulder to avoid the Honda and then overcompensated by swinging left into oncoming traffic, Goudie said. Ramirez’s speedometer was found stuck below the speed limit.

The CHP withheld names of the five who died, pending notification of next of kin. They included a husband and wife who were on a motorcycle that was first to be struck.

A man who was driving a motorcycle behind the couple was struck next and died, Goudie said.

Ramirez turned and hit a third motorcycle, killing a woman who was riding on the back and injuring her husband, Goudie said.

Trayer’s motorcycle sliced 18 inches (46 centimetres) into the front passenger door of the Dodge that Ramirez was driving, killing Ramirez’s companion, a 31-year-old Mexicali woman who owned the car, Goudie said.

Carl Smith, president of the Lakeside-based Saddletramps Motorcycle Club, said three riders were seriously injured but expected to survive. Two others had less serious injuries.

Smith was leading the motorcycles and watched in his rearview mirror as Ramirez turned his sedan into oncoming traffic and struck the middle of the pack. There were 21 riders on about a dozen motorcycles.

“The car was out of control when I went by him. He narrowly missed me and my vice-president,” said Smith.

Smith doesn’t blame Ramirez, despite the allegation that he was driving under the influence. He considers Ramirez a victim because his companion died.

“It looked like he overreacted, but the guy in the Honda Civic was at fault,” said Smith, who estimated the Civic was going 95 mph (152 kph) when it passed the motorcycles.


Associated Press writer Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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