A Las Vegas driver has been charged with the death of a bicyclist after a passenger in his van leaned out the window and shoved her, resulting in the cyclist to fall and die immediately. However, in the excitement to push the cyclist, the passenger too fell out of the window and died after hitting the asphalt road, according to police.
According to police, the driver, despite watching the entire episode, sped off from the scene. The incident occurred on Sunday following which, the driver, Rodrigo Cruz, 22, was arrested on Monday. Both the cyclist and the passenger died at the scene, police said.
Accident and Murder
Michelle Weissman, 55, was riding her bicycle on Sunday morning when suddenly a speeding burgundy minivan came next to her and slowed down. Moments later, a passenger form the van leaned out of the window and shoved Weissman. Unable to keep her balance, she skidded on the ground. Weissman's head struck the ground and she was killed immediately. The passenger has been identified as Giovanni Barajas, 20.
However, within seconds, Barajas too lost control and tumbled out of the window. After falling out, Barajas skilled for almost 150 feet on the asphalt before hitting a traffic light, which killed him instantly. Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer described the deaths as 'senseless.'
According to police, Weissman was riding her bike and greeting some of the pedestrians she knew. Barajas noticed that and tried to play a prank on her by pushing her but ended up killing her and in the process lost control and killed himself.
Although authorities have ruled Barajas' death an accident, driver Cruz was arrested a day later for speeding off from the scene. Police identified him after interviewing a few of his friends and through his social media, and arrested him from his home. During interrogation, Cruz allegedly offered contradictory explanations for what happened.
He initially denied that he intentionally drove in a way to allow Barajas to shove the woman. However, after repeated questioning Cruz said that he didn't stop after his friend Barajas fell out of the window "because he was scared since he was on parole and didn't think Barajas was hurt," police said.
This isn't Cruz's first brush with crime. He has a criminal record including a 2016 conviction for an armed robbery that earned him a four-and-a-half-year prison term. Weissman, known to her loved ones as 'Shelli,' was an employee at the Eastside Cannery Casino and Hotel, operated by Boyd Gaming. She is survived by her husband of 14 years, Lonny, who described the incident as a 'horrendous and unnecessary tragedy that was 100 percent avoidable.'