Two Cyclists Killed in Newport Beach Within 24-Hours


Two cyclists have been killed in separate accidents in Newport Beach less that 24-hours apart. On Friday morning, Corona del Mar resident Sarah Leaf was fatally hit by a stake-bed truck while riding near East Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. The driver stayed at the scene of the collision and is cooperating fully with the police.

Early Saturday, Cathy Ritz, better known throughout Newport Beach as Dr. Catherine Campion, was struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver on Newport Cost Drive. The vehicle that fled is described as a black pickup truck, possibly a Toyota Tacoma. It would have sustained noticeable damage to the front-end. Dr. Campion was transported to the Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center, where she passed away later that day.

Newport Coast Drive has large, clearly marked bicycle lanes. Dr. Campion was an experienced and cautious rider who was most likely keeping to her lane at the time of the crash. It is possible that the driver who struck her was distracted or driving under the influence.

As a Newport Beach personal injury law firm, we are invested in the road safety of our local area. Our sincere condolences go out to the families, friends, and colleagues of these remarkable women.

Sarah Leaf was a 29-year-old nutritionist with offices in Corona del Mar and La Jolla. She was well loved by the clients whose lives she improved. Dr. Catherine Campion was a family practice physician. She had been a past chairman of the Family Practice Department at Hoag Hospital, and was a physician at the Newport Family Medicine group. Both Sarah and Cathy were active in helping people throughout the Newport Beach community.

Police continue to investigate the two crashes, and urge any potential witnesses to come forward. They especially need help identifying the driver involved in the second crash. Please contact the Newport Beach Police Department with any relevant information.

James M. Bergener is one of Newport Beach’s leading personal injury attorneys. Several members of our team are seasoned road cyclists and mountain bikers who understand the danger posed by negligent drivers. We are involved in educating the public about safely sharing the roads and preventing tragic accidents such as these.

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