2014 was deadly year on Bakersfield roads
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - Bakersfield saw a rise in the number of traffic-related deaths in 2014. A total of 35 people were killed, the highest number since 2006.
Eleven of those deaths involved drunken driving.
"There's a lot of people driving drunk," said Joseph Almonidovar, the father of 22-year-old Princess Almonidovar. She was among the first victims killed in 2014.
According to police, a drunken driver smashed into Princess Almonidovar's car at the intersection of Ming and New Stine. She died at the scene. The driver, Alex Rubio, ran from the scene but was later apprehended. He is awaiting trial.
"I know the feeling to loose someone in that kind of accident, so I feel for those people," said Normie Almonidovar, mother of Princess.
There were also five deaths involving hit-and-run drivers. Two of those deaths involved bicyclists who were killed in December.
Among them was 29-year-old Jose Roberto Miranda, killed on Dec. 2 on the 6600 block of White Lane. Miranda was on his way to work when his bicycle was struck from behind, and he died at the scene.
Also killed on Dec. 20 was 46-year-old Victor Quiroz when his bicycle was hit on the 1700 block of New Stine Road near the Olive Garden Restaurant.
Both hit-and-run cases remain unsolved, and police have not made any arrests in either case.
Bakersfield police Sgt. Joe Grubbs said 10 pedestrians were killed in traffic-related accidents. But, in several of these, the driver was not at fault.
"Many times, it's the pedestrian who is typically the fatality on those types of collisions, and the pedestrian is at fault," said Grubbs.
Cases include pedestrians crossing in the middle of a roadway and wearing dark clothing at night.
Bakersfield has grown by about 8,000 new residents since 2006, but police can't say for sure what's behind the increase in fatal accidents.
"Part of this is just kind of the ebb and flow of these type of incidents," said Grubbs, "but we'll have to keep a close eye on it as we enter into 2015 and hope that the numbers go down drastically."