Biker dies in Crest crash

Man's accident is the third fatality since the highway reopened June 3.

June 20, 2011|By Joe Piasecki,

A Fontana man died Sunday afternoon when he lost control of his motorcycle on Angeles Crest Highway and launched off the edge of a cliff, officials said.

It is the third fatal crash on the steep, twisting roadway since the long-shuttered seven-mile segment between La Cañada Flintridge and Angeles Forest Highway reopened on June 3.

The motorcyclist was identified by coroner’s officials as Everett Justin Howell, 35, of Fontana.

Excessive speed may be to blame for the crash, said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Matt Armenta.

“It looks like he went too fast, slid and then went off the edge,” Armenta said. “The bike went about 40 feet. He went about 100 [feet].”


Howell went over the side of the road at approximately 1 p.m. while approaching a curve approximately 32 miles north of the Foothill (210) Freeway in an area between Newcomb’s Ranch restaurant and the Mt. Waterman ski area, officials said.

Although the crash occurred miles above the recently reopened segment of the highway, Armenta said that restoring access from the Foothill Freeway has attracted many drivers who are unfamiliar with the area’s twists and turns.

“That portion opening has brought everyone and their sister to the roadway. A lot of them think it’s their own little raceway,” he said. “When they start to open [their machines’ throttles] up to challenge themselves, this is the end result.”

The CHP has vowed that it would boost traffic patrols on Angeles Crest Highway.

The two fatalities earlier this month, both on the same day, did not involve motorcycles.

A Pasadena man was killed just after 3 a.m. on June 10 when he lost control of his car and careened into a tree at a bend roughly six miles above the Foothill Freeway. Investigators believe alcohol and excessive speed may be to blame for that crash.

At approximately 4 p.m. that same day, a Monterey Park man swerved off the road while driving along a straightaway less than two miles above the earlier crash, plunging nearly 700 feet down a mountainside.

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