A former Westminster police chief and city manager, James Mitchell Waller, died in a bicycle accident on Friday.
The collision took place Friday morning. He was riding his bicycle along southbound Highway 133. A Toyota Corolla struck him and another bicyclist at around 8:50 a.m. Waller died at the scene of the accident. The other bicyclist was his friend, Kevin Beach. Beach is also a longtime city employee. Kevin Beach was taken to Mission Hospital. He is currently in serious but stable condition. Both victims are avid bicyclists. This particular stretch of road was one of their favorite routes.
The driver of the Toyota Corolla stayed at the scene of the accident. Currently, no arrests have been made. The exact cause of the accident is still not been determined. California Highway Patrol officers and Sheriff Deputies are investigating the incident.
Witnesses described a horrific scene. The windshield of the Corolla was completely shattered. The bikes were also destroyed and in pieces. One of the cyclists was seen lying facing the ground. He was not moving.
Waller leaves behind a wife and two children. While he was at the Westminster Police Department, he served as a captain, chief’s adjutant, SWAT commander, patrol operations lieutenant, and detective commander. He became chief in 2009. Waller took the Westminster city manager position in early 2011. He retired in July 2012. During his time as city manager, he reduced the city’s budget deficit. His supporters remember him fondly. Waller has done much for the city of Westminster.
A trauma team was sent to the Police Department to help the officers cope with the loss. Both victims were close to the Police Department. Waller influenced many. He will be remembered as a role model and strong leader.
These deaths are an unfortunate story to common among avid bicyclists. Bicyclists are highly susceptible to fatal accidents. In the case of a collision, bicyclists have little protection. If a car collides into a bicyclist, the bicyclist will probably be ejected forward. The bicyclist’s only protection is a helmet. Bicyclists can also easily sustain fatal injuries. If these two men were in a motor vehicle, the collision may have been less serious. A car’s external structure would absorb some of the force of the Toyota Corolla. Unfortunately, bicyclists are susceptible to fatal accidents.
If you are ever in a fatal accident, do not hesitate to contact a Westminster car accident lawyer.