Man pleads not guilty to hitting, killing charity cyclist in Griffith Park
LOS ANGELES - A driver who allegedly struck and killed a bicyclist in Griffith Park near the finish of a training ride for a charity event pleaded not guilty Monday through his attorney to murder and other charges.
Jairo Martinez, 37, was charged last month with one felony count each of murder and hit-and-run driving resulting in death to another person, along with one misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended or revoked license for a DUI conviction after a prior offense, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Martinez allegedly struck 77-year-old Andrew Jelmert in Griffith Park at about 3:50 p.m. April 16 and then tried to flee the scene but was captured soon afterward, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
Jelmert fell after the crash onto the roadway, where he suffered blunt force trauma and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Lt. M. McCommas of the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Traffic Division.
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Police said witnesses assisted officers in locating the driver. Martinez was arrested about 5 p.m. that day, according to jail records.
"Alcohol was a factor in this collision," according to the LAPD.
Jelmert was killed just a half-mile from finishing a 67-mile training ride to prepare for his fifth ride in the seven-day, 545-mile AIDS/LifeCycle Ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles to benefit the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, according to the group Streets Are For Everyone.
A group of cyclists, runners and others subsequently gathered at Griffith Park to pay tribute to Jelmert.
Martinez — who is jailed in lieu of $2 million bail — is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom June 28. A date is scheduled to be set then to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial.