Ghost bike honors memory of Costa Mesa bicyclist killed in Newport Beach hit-and-run

Richard Cintron, brother of Randy Cintron, receives comfort from Nicolina Trejo at the ghost bike memorial.
Richard Cintron, brother of Randy Cintron, receives comfort from Nicolina Trejo at the site of the ghost bike memorial along Jamboree Road in Newport Beach.
(Sarahi Apaez)

Randy Cintron launched his bicycle over berms and sent dirt flying as he slid around corners during a trip to the Big Bear area in August. His longtime friend, Cory McDougal, was following him in an ATV and recalled barely being able to keep up with him.

“He had to be the fiercest rider out of all of us in our group of friends,” McDougal said.

The 43-year-old Costa Mesa resident rode every day and occasionally used apps to share live updates tracking his route. He appeared to be cycling along one of his regular trails the morning of Sunday, Sept. 11, until GPS data showed him diverge from the path and begin traveling on a freeway a little after 8:30 a.m.

That’s around the time the avid cyclist was struck by a vehicle near Jamboree Road and Bayview Way. The app he was using continued broadcasting his location to his followers as paramedics loaded him into an ambulance and rushed him by freeway to a hospital. He died later that day, McDougal said.

Those who knew Cintron as a man near the peak of his health could hardly contain their disbelief, McDougal said. But some took comfort in knowing he was doing something he was passionate about when he died.

“Although it doesn’t erase the pain of losing someone who was so kind and so humble far sooner than we should have, there is some small comfort in knowing he was doing what he loved,” Cintron’s friend, Keith Canino, said.

Dozens of Cintron’s friends and relatives gathered Sunday along Bayview Trail, one week after he died. A pair of bystanders who attempted to care for him before paramedics arrived on the day of the crash were also in attendance to pay their respects, Canino said.

Some wept and held each other as they placed flowers, candles and photos next to a small wooden cross. A bicycle that had been spray-painted white, known as a ghost bike, was also left at the makeshift memorial to mark the scene of the crash. The display will remain for about three weeks so that mourners can have an opportunity to honor Cintron’s memory.

The driver of the vehicle involved in the colliison was arrested the day of the crash and identified as a 36-year-old Anaheim woman. She has since been charged with murder and felony hit-and run.

“We want justice to be served because this was a good man,” Canino said.

Cintron graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with an engineering degree, McDougal said. He worked on systems for use in submarines, aircraft and satellites.

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