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Santa Monica Police Search for Witnesses to Motorcycle Fatality
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By Lookout Staff

August 24, 2016 -- Santa Monica police are still looking for witnesses to a motorcycle collision with a vehicle on Pacific Coast Highway Friday that left one of the riders dead and the other in critical condition.

The collision came just hours after police ended an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. targeting of drivers and riders committing the kinds of violations -– speeding, unsafe turning and substance abuse -- that cause injuries and deaths in accidents involving motorcycles and other motorists.

Police did not say whether PCH was one of the roads involved in the operation. Locations of such special operations are never revealed in advance, and a spokesman for the department did not comment Tuesday.

Another motorcyclist was killed a day later after being hit by a car in Malibu, City News Service reported.

Florentino Couce, 58, from Marina Del Rey, was on his 2015 Ducati heading north on Latigo Canyon Drive -- about three miles above PCH -- when the driver of a 2016 Mazda, stopped at the intersection at Ocean View Drive, pulled out in front of him as she made a left turn.

The California Highway Patrol said the motorcycle struck the left side of the car as the turn was being made and ejected Couce onto the road.

The other driver, a 19-year-old girl, was uninjured. She was not cited or arrested, City News Service said.

According to state authorities, motorcycle fatalities statewide recently jumped by more than 28 percent from a decade low of 352 in 2010.

The August 19 accident occurred at about 11:38 p.m. in the 1500 block of PCH, police said.

Responding to multiple calls, police said officers determined that the motorcycle had swerved into a vehicle as both headed northbound on PCH. Both the motorcycle’s driver and passenger were ejected onto the highway by the collision, police said.

After being treated at the scene by paramedics, the injured were transported to a local hospital. One subsequently died and the other remains hospitalized in critical condition.

PCH was shut down for several hours after the incident, which remains under investigation.

Anyone with additional information should contact Investigator Jason Olson at (310) 458-8954, Sergeant Joseph Cortez at (310) 458- 8713 or the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8495.

PCH, known for its scenic views of the Pacific Ocean, is almost as well known for its accidents and the gridlock often caused. Bumper-to-bumper conditions could get worse after the September 1 re-opening of the California Incline.

The Incline was used by at least 15,000 vehicles every day, with drivers going north on PCH re-routed onto Lincoln Boulevard and onto the Santa Monica 10 Freeway to merge again with PCH through the McClure Tunnel.

Closed for a $20 million reconstruction in April 2015, the Incline is a vital link between Santa Monica and PCH.

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