Encino cyclist killed in Leucadia; local TV speculates an attempted vehicular serial killer could be at work

This is not what I wanted to write about tonight.

I had planned to discuss another exceptionally successful CicLAvia; hopefully I can get to that tomorrow.

But this time, we need to talk about, not just the tragic death of a local cyclist on SoCal streets, but the chilling possibility that someone may be intentionally running down bike riders in San Diego County.

According to multiple press reports, 47-year old Encino resident James Steven Swarzman was riding with two other cyclists in North San Diego County around 1 am Sunday. The riders were on the 1300 block of Highway 101 in Leucadia — a stretch of road I rode hundreds of times when I lived down that way. A competitive cyclist, he was reportedly on a late night training ride to get ready for the upcoming season.

A witness on the scene reportedly described a Ford pickup drifting between the Number 1 and Number 2 lanes before striking Swarzman’s bike from behind. Despite a flight to a local trauma center and aggressive attempts to resuscitate him, Swarzman was declared dead just three hours later.

The driver fled the scene without stopping; the vehicle is described as a newer blue Ford F-150  pickup, and should have damage to the front end, including one or more broken headlights. Anyone with information is urged to call the Encinitas Sheriff’s station at 760-966-3500.

That should be the end of the story.

I only wish it was.

According San Diego TV station KGTV, S.D. Sheriff’s Investigators are looking into the horrifying possibility that the collision was intentional.

According to their report, a witness said that the driver didn’t slow down before hitting Swarzman. The description sounds eerily familiar to 33-year cyclist Heath Bernstein, who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run collision on the same highway last January.