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A cyclist was killed by a passenger leaning out of a minivan who later fell out of the vehicle’s window and died this weekend, Las Vegas Police said.
Authorities responded to the scene of an accident around 7:25 a.m. on Sunday at the intersections of Wild Cat Way and Hollywood Boulevard, officials said.
Police said the passenger of a minivan, who was initially hanging out the window, tried to hit two pedestrians who were on a sidewalk as the vehicle drove by them. The passenger, however, reportedly missed his alleged targets, and instead struck a bicyclist while dangling out of the window.
The cyclist, identified as Michelle Weissman, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported, was described by police as being in her mid-50s. She collided with the pavement and was killed.
The two pedestrians, who narrowly dodged the minivan, told police that Weissman said “good morning” to them as she rode past the couple, according to the newspaper. Witnesses attempted emergency life-saving procedures on Weissman but she was later declared dead at the scene.
The 18-year-old passenger, who was simultaneously thrown from the minivan, skidded across the pavement before hitting his head on a light pole. He also died.
"Senseless is an understatement," Lt. Raymond Spencer told KSNV. "You have a woman who was out riding her bicycle and they pull up next to her and strike her, causing her to die. It's an absolute senseless act."
Authorities are investigating the incident as a homicide, Las Vegas police said. The minivan in question was driving recklessly or racing in the moments leading up to the collision with the cyclist.
The minivan’s driver, Rodrigo Cruz, 22, first fled the scene but was later apprehended by authorities following a tip from bystanders, who also identified the passenger as a man named “Gio."
While in police custody, Cruz denied he was driving the minivan; however, he eventually confessed the vehicle was traveling between 50 to 60 miles per hour when his co-pilot struck the cyclist, according to the police report obtained by the Review-Journal.
The 22-year-old claimed he abandoned his friend and the mortally wounded cyclist because he was “scared,” investigators said.
“He never went back to check on [his passenger] because he was scared since he was on parole and didn’t think Gio was hurt,” detectives wrote in the police report. “Rodrigo stated he wasn’t intentionally driving in a manner to allow Gio to make contact with any pedestrians or the bicyclist.”
Clark County Coroner’s Office haven’t yet released causes of death in the freak accident.
Cruz, who was arrested on suspicion of open murder and failing to stop at the scene of an accident, is being held without bail at a Clark County detention center, according to online jail records. Cruz also faces additional charges of violating his parole.
In 2016, Cruz was charged with several counts of robbery and battery but the case appears to have later been dismissed, according to additional court records.
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