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Calimesa Man Accused of Hit-and-Run on Bicyclist Critically Injured

Booking photo of William Donald Johnson, 42, of Calimesa, released Jan. 7, 2014.
Booking photo of William Donald Johnson, 42, of Calimesa, released Jan. 7, 2014.
A man was arrested Monday on suspicion of felony hit-and-run causing serious/permanent injury in connection with a Dec. 29 crash that put a bicyclist in critical condition, a sheriff's sergeant said.

William Donald Johnson, 42, of Calimesa, was arrested at 3:30 p.m. Jan. 6, according to inmate records. He was booked Monday evening at Smith Correctional. He was released Tuesday on $25,000 bail and he has a court date March 4 in Banning.

The crash was reported about 12:25 p.m. Sunday Dec, 29 near the intersection of Calimesa Boulevard and Singleton Road, Sgt. John Reinbolz of the Cabazon Station said in a statement.

Deputies found a male bicyclist injured and lying on Calimesa just north of Singleton, Reinbolz said.

"The vehicle involved did not stop and left the scene," Reinbolz said.

"According to witnesses, the bicyclist was traveling southbound and the vehicle was traveling northbound, both on Calimesa," Reinbolz said. "For unknown reasons the vehicle crossed the center divider and drove head on into the bicyclist's path of travel."

The vehicle struck the bicycle and was seen leaving with damage to the front headlight and front left side of the vehicle, Reinbolz said.

The vehicle was described as "a light green or light blue compact four door vehicle driven by an elderly White or Hispanic male with white hair," Reinbolz said.

The bicyclist was listed in critical condition the next day at Riverside County Regional Medical Center, a family friend told Patch in a phone interview.

Phil Richards is a resident of Banning area and he is in his 50s, Melanie Tressler of Yucaipa said Dec. 30. Tressler said she's been friends with Richards' wife, Annette, for 27 years.

"He's already had a coupe of surgeries," Tressler said of Richards. "He will require more. Things are not looking good for him right now. All the prayers and support we can get  are greatly appreciated."

About noon Monday Jan. 6, a deputy spotted a vehicle parked in the driveway of a residence in the 1200 block of Cherry Lane, Reinbolz said.

"The vehicle, a green 2005 Ford Five Hundred, matched the description of the suspect vehicle and had damage consistent with damage expected from the evidence left at the scene," Reinbolz said. "The vehicle was towed to the Cabazon Station and processed for additional evidence."

The suspect, identified as Johnson was contacted at his residence, Reinbolz said.

"During the course of the investigation, it was determined that Johnson was involved in the hit and run accident," Reinbolz said.

The victim remained hospitalized in critical condition, Reinbolz said Jan. 6.

For background see

UPDATE: Bicyclist Injured by Hit-Run Driver in Critical Condition, Family Friend Says

Anyone with more info was urged to call the Cabazon Station, (951) 922-7100.
Rex January 08, 2014 at 09:51 AM
Nice work on the part of the deputy. The Sheriff's dept stepped up and did a lot of work on Sunday 1/5. The word from people that know Johnson is it was probably alcohol related...I hope they can investigate and show he was drinking on this as well. Continued prayers for the Richards family and Phil.

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