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Elderly Man Charged in Bike Crash That Killed Laguna Cyclist

Debra Deem, of Laguna Beach, was killed in August after being hit by a minivan while riding her bike on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

Debra Healy Deem, 58 of Laguna Beach. (Patch file photo)
Debra Healy Deem, 58 of Laguna Beach. (Patch file photo)
An elderly man was charged last week in connection with a fatal bike crash that claimed the life of a Laguna Beach bicyclist, authorities reported.

The Orange County district attorney's office filed a misdemeanor charge of vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence on Jan. 17 against Robert James Anderson, 84, of Irvine, court records show. The charge stems from a crash that occurred on the afternoon of Aug. 28, 2013 and involved cyclist Debra H. Deem.

According to police, Deem was riding her bike along East Coast Highway and Newport Coast Drive when a minivan struck her bike. Anderson, who was behind the wheel of the minivan, made an unsafe lane change that resulted in the crash, the D.A.'s office reported.

Deem, 58, was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. She was taken to Mission Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Anderson is scheduled to be arraigned on Feb. 3. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of one year in county jail.

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RiverBoatQueen January 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM
I'm a bike rider also, and stories like these leave me chilled to the bone. This beautiful innocent woman was struck down and killed by an old person who should NOT be legally licensed to drive in the first place. There is such a thing as being incompetent to drive! It seems to me that society doesn't protect bike riders from the careless drivers of the world. Bikers die, senile drivers get off with probation. It's not fair and something's GOT TO CHANGE!!! God bless.
Debbie January 25, 2014 at 09:02 PM
I'm not sure why the laguna beach patch is talking about news in newport beach when there was a bad accident last week in laguna canyon right in front of the future traffic nightmare where the 30 unit apartment complex is intended to go in that the developer calls the artist live work complex.

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