NEWPORT BEACH – While local cycling advocates continue to seek solutions to the dangers faced by cyclists on area roads, a suspected drunk driver on Monday evening may have been behind the region’s the latest cycling death.
According to a Newport Beach Police report, just before 6 p.m. Monday, a 41-year-old man later identified as former Olympian Amine Britel was biking eastbound on San Joaquin Hills Road between Spyglass Hill Road and Newport Ridge Drive-West when he was struck by a White Volkswagen Jetta.
Paramedics responded to the accident scene, but were unable to resuscitate Britel.
The driver of the Jetta, Danae Marie Miller, 22, of Newport Coast, was taken into custody and faces a charge of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. She was booked into the Newport Beach Police Department jail with bail set at $100,000. Online county jail logs show that she has since posted bail and been released.
Orange County court records list Miller as having received several traffic tickets since 2005, including speeding and failure to stop at a stop sign. Aside from the pending manslaughter charge, her most recent violation is for talking on her cell phone while driving, a charge for which her current bail release allowed her to appear in court on Thursday. Records show she pled guilty and was given a $50 fine.
Coronadelmartoday.com reports that Britel, was a member of a 4-by-400 meter relay team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, played first-division professional soccer in France and was a world class triathlete who competed in the 2002 World Triathlon Championships.
Britel also received degrees from both UC Berkley and Harvard and owned a travel-oriented business in Newport Beach, according to Corona Del Mar Today.
Numerous traffic accidents involving cyclists have occurred in Newport Beach and the Spyglass Hill area in recent years, prompting local advocates and city officials to push for better safety solutions.
Not including Britel’s death, a website for the Orange County Bicycle Coalition lists four cycling fatalities involving cars or trucks in the area since 2009. Those riders were Dan Crain, who was killed in August 2010 while climbing Newport Coast at the 73; Michael Nine, killed while descending Spyglass Hill in July 2010; Donald Murphy while riding south on JamboreeRoad in December 2009; and Daryl Benefiel, who was descending Newport Coast in July 2009.
Other details of this most recent collision have not been released but police ask anyone with any information to please contact Investigator Todd Bush at (949) 644-3746.