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Newport Beach Doctor Killed in Hit-and-Run

Posted on September 20, 2012

Picture taken at Pickup Truck Racing event at ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Biking accidents can occur at any moment when either the biker or an oncoming driver is negligent. Both parties must be careful out in the road; caution is a responsibility given to every person on the road whether they are pedestrians, cyclists, or drivers. Unfortunately for one biker, a truck driver was not vigilant on the streets.

An Orange County doctor was hit by a full-sized pickup truck on Saturday, September 15. The doctor, Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz, was riding her bike when 39-year old Michael Jason Lopez struck her then ran away from the scene. The accident happened on 9:45 a.m. along Newport Coast Drive. Lopez did not stop to give aid but instead left the scene. Lopez, an Anaheim resident, is now facing one felony count of hit-and-run and one misdemeanor of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence.

The pickup driver was arrested around 2 a.m. Police searched for the guilty driver. When they found Lopez, he was booked at Newport Beach jail and held on $100,000 bail. Dr. Ritz was taken to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center after her accident. She died later that day.

Lopez also has a prior strike conviction of a 1993 residential burglary. This prior record can earn him sentence enhancement. He is scheduled to appear in Orange County Superior Court on Wednesday. However, it has been rescheduled for October 5. He is still currently in police custody. He is facing a maximum of eight years in prison of he is convicted.

Campion Ritz was an Irvine resident who worked and practiced as a doctor in Newport Beach. Friends, relatives, and coworkers say that she had a passion for helping people and loved bike-riding.

Ritz was the president of the Greater Newport Physicians since 1994. She was also the founding board member of Nautilus Healthcare Management Group. She has influenced many lives and touched many individuals with the work she has been doing.

Wrongful death accidents can hurt so many—not just the victim. Families of the doctor and bicyclists are still mourning her loss and absence. One negligent action from Lopez has caused the grieving of so many. Personal injury accidents causes damage and pain to everyone involved. But wrongful death accidents cause a feeling of despair for lost relatives.

If you have lost someone in a wrongful death accident, take action and hire a lawyer. Do not let the guilty party get away for their negligence, hire a car accident attorney today and fight for your rights.

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