I just learned a friend and workmate was killed this weekend while riding his bicycle with his Santa Clarita Velo team in southern CA; hit and run by a drunk driver.
Joe was a hell of a good man. I worked with him quite a bit on a project when he was living in Belgium, and I always looked forward to seeing him several times a year when he came back to MPLS from his new home in CA. You are missed.
updated with photo and news link.
Motorist from Canyon Country gets 26 years to life in prison for killing Stevenson Ranch cyclist
A Canyon Country man who was on probation for two underage drunk driving convictions when he drove into a group of bicyclists, killing one, was sentenced Tuesday to 26 years to life in prison.
Marco Antonio Valencia, now 22, was found guilty in April of the July 2009 death of Joseph Novotny, a 43-year-old bicyclist from Stevenson Ranch.
Valencia, who was 20 at the time, drove his Ford F-150 pickup truck into a pack of four cyclists on Bouquet Canyon Road in the Santa Clarita hills. Novotny was killed and the other three riders were injured.
Valencia fled the crash scene and was arrested 90 minutes later by the California Highway Patrol. Three hours after the crash, his blood alcohol level was at .17 - more than double the legal limit, according to officials, who pegged his BAC at .23 at the time of the crash.
Valencia was convicted of second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident and driving with a .08 percent blood-alcohol level causing injury.
At the time, he was on probation for two misdemeanor DUI convictions, including one from a 2008 crash into a power pole in Canyon Country, which knocked out electricty to nearby homes.
Novotny had been riding down Bouquet Canyon with about 30 other bicyclists from the Santa Clarita Velo cycling club about 11a.m. on July 11, 2009.
The Minnesota native, who had moved to Stevenson Ranch the winter before to work as the general manager of a liquid-filtration company, was in a smaller group of bikers when Valencia came barreling down the two-lane road.
The truck threw Novotny about 20 feet, according to a witness.
"There was just this carnage of bikes," Bob Santaella, a fellow biker who came upon the group soon after, told the Daily News in 2009. "Joe was the first guy I saw. He never said a word. I knew he could hear me because I could see his eyes moving and he was breathing. I just asked him to hang on and wait for help.
"Joe took his last breath right in front of me."
A witness reported seeing Valencia's truck weaving up the road for several miles, crossing over into the opposite lane, running into a chain-link fence, and nearly sideswiping a car.
Novotny has since been honored with a cross that the cycling club's members placed at the crash site.