Riverside woman convicted in bicyclist's death

A Riverside woman was convicted Tuesday of fatally hitting a bicyclist in Newport Beach with her car and fleeing the scene while under the influence of prescription drugs.

Patricia Ann Izquieta, 38, pleaded guilty at the Central Justice Center in Santa Anta to charges of felony hit and run causing death, vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated without gross negligence and misdemeanor driving without a license with an enhancement for causing great bodily injury in the case dating to December 2009, according to court records. She is to be sentenced at the courthouse in Santa Ana on March 11.

Izquieta faces up to three years in prison, the Orange County district attorney's office said in a news release.

At about 6 a.m. on Dec. 9, 2009, Izquieta was driving in the northbound far right lane of Jamboree Road, north of Ford Road, when her car drifted toward the curb and struck Donald Murphy from behind as he rode his bike.

Murphy, 49, of Irvine, was thrown to the curb and died at the scene. Izquieta drove on for more than a mile, while her car was dragged along his bicycle. She was arrested in a restaurant parking lot down the road. She was under the influence of three prescription medications.

The crash raised concerns in the cycling community that Newport Beach was not bicycle-friendly. Murphy's death was the second in six months, with a third death coming seven months later. Since then, the city has launched a major bicycle-rider education campaign for drivers and installed new safety measures on popular bike-riding paths throughout the city.

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