Los Angeles is one of those cities with a tragic story at every turn. Especially every left turn. Now the city can add the story of Ena Orquidea Villalobos to its catalog of sad tales.
The South Los Angeles woman was killed by a bus Saturday morning. As she was lying stricken on the pavement, someone stole her bicycle. Then, an ambulance on the way to help her crashed into another car and flipped on its side, sending two Los Angeles Fire Department personnel to the hospital.
The accident that killed Villalobos happened at about 8:30 am Saturday morning, January 11, at the intersection of Slauson Avenue and Figueroa Street in South Los Angeles, KTLA News reports.
According to witness and police accounts, the bus operated by Arana Tour Line was making a left turn on a green light, but the driver simply failed to notice the woman walking her bike across the street, on her way to a doctor’s appointment.
Left turns on green lights, while perfectly legal, are among the most dangerous moves a driver can make. A recent study in New York City found that pedestrians were three times as likely to be killed by a left-turning vehicle as one making a right-hand turn.
Another study in Ontario, Canada, found that, overall, 60 percent of collisions between vehicles and pedestrians happened when the vehicle was making a left turn.
In Saturday’s fatal accident, the driver “just didn’t see her,” Los Angeles Police Sergeant Susie Padilla told CBS Los Angeles. “He’s fully cooperating with police.”
“When she tried to get to the other side of the street, the light turned yellow,” a witness, Alfread Izquerdo, told local NBC Channel 4 News. “When it turned yellow, she tried to hurry up and get to the other side before it turned red. If you were to look both ways, you would’ve seen the bus coming.”
Various reports put the age of the deceased Los Angeles woman at 58, 56, and 54 years old. She reportedly lived nearby the scene of her death.
“When I heard her screaming, that was it,” said witness Alex Tenorio. “She got caught off guard and she got hit. It was bad, really bad.”
A LAFD ambulance sped to the scene and was just two blocks away at Slauson and Hoover Streets when another car ran a red light, according to NBC Channel 4. The car slammed into the ambulance, sending it over on its side.
The two LAFD personnel were injured and taken to a nearby hospital. The driver of the car was also hurt.
Villalobos’ bicycle was not found when Los Angeles police finally cleared the scene. They assume an onlooker or passer-by took the opportunity to steal it.