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Los Gatos: Chevy Blazer driver arrested in crash that killed bic

The San Jose Mercury News: Los Gatos: Chevy Blazer driver arrested in crash that killed bicyclist

By Mark Gomez
mgomez@mercurynews.com
Posted: 02/02/2010 09:35:31 AM PST
Updated: 02/03/2010 05:03:31 PM PST

The 50-year-old driver of a Chevrolet Blazer who police say struck and killed a 28-year-old bicyclist Monday morning in Los Gatos has been arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter.

Kevin Derr, of San Jose, was arrested and admitted to the custody ward of Valley Medical Center, where he was being treated for injuries he suffered in the rollover collision, according to Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police. Derr, who is expected to survive, has not formally been arraigned.

Sgt. Kerry Harris said some witnesses told police it looked as though Derr was trying to beat slow-moving traffic on Lark Avenue. Some witnesses told police Derr may have been driving at least 50 mph in barely moving traffic in the right-hand turn lane about 8:50 a.m., when his SUV jumped the curb and killed Joshua West, who was bicycling on the sidewalk. The speed limit there is 30 mph.

"There was no indication that he intended to end up on the sidewalk," Harris said. "But we believe he was grossly negligent."

Harris also said that after Derr struck the bicyclist, he didn’t stop: The SUV struck a steel pedestrian barricade past the intersection of Garden Hill Drive and then, finally, a traffic signal pole, causing the Blazer to flip over on its side.
There were no skid marks, Harris said, that would have indicated Derr had tried to stop.

Harris said Derr made "a statement" to police, which he wouldn’t reveal. He said there was no obvious evidence that
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drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision, and he did not know of Derr’s medical history. The Department of Motor Vehicles shows Derr has a clean driving record.

West, a single father in Los Gatos with a 7-year-old daughter, Briana, was riding his bike to physical therapy class for back pain when he was struck by the Blazer.

Since the crash, the community has rallied to offer financial assistance.

Anyone with information about this collision may call Los Gatos-Monte Sereno police at 408-354-8600.