In San Luis Obispo, a hit-and-run crash recently took the life of a Cal Poly student, Kennedy Love. Love was riding a bicycle when he was hit by a car. The car fled the scene but a police investigation quickly located a suspect- a 17-year-old girl - who was identified this week as a Cuesta College student by the college’s campus newspaper, the Cuestonian.
KCBX News spoke with the reporter who wrote the story, Rachel Barnes - a second-year Cuesta student - this is her first semester writing for the newspaper. We asked Rachel to take us through the case and what she learned in her reporting.
BARNES: On August 29 - a Tuesday night - at around 11:30 p.m., Kennedy Love was riding his bike along Foothill Boulevard and a car struck him...he fell off his bike and he died on the scene. The car fled the scene and they found it later on Tassajara Street abandoned. The police contacted the registered owner and they figured out that it was a 17-year-old minor - a Cuesta student - that allegedly struck him. She, according to the police department, admitted that she was drinking prior to driving and she admitted to driving the vehicle...at that moment they arrested her.
KCBX: Something is happening [Friday] in the case, what is it?
BARNES: From what we were informed by Lee Cunningham, the assistant D.A., he at first informed us that the hearing was [Friday] but it has been postponed.
KCBX: That hearing - as I understand it - is to have a judge rule whether the 17-year-old suspect will be charged as an adult or a juvenile. What is she facing?
BARNES: I know that she is charged with felony DUI, vehicular manslaughter and felony hit- and-run.
KCBX: So she remains in custody. And the hearing has been postponed. Tell me about Kennedy Love...who was Kennedy Love?
BARNES: He was a fourth year Cal Poly student. He was studying landscape architecture. From what his family told me he was very kind, very helpful. He loved to volunteer, and was very invested in his faith. His family spoke really highly of him.
KCBX: Whom did you speak to?
BARNES: His sister Candice Wade and his cousin Michael Love.
KCBX: Did you talk to the suspect's family at all?
BARNES: No, we haven't gotten a hold of them yet.
KCBX: And how did you know that she was a Cuesta student?
BARNES: We have three sources that are pretty close to the case, who want to remain anonymous.
KCBX: Because, of course, as a juvenile the police have not released her name yet. I've heard about a ghost bike. What is that?
BARNES: The ghost bike is a riderless bicycle.. it's supposed to bring awareness to the bikers being hit and it's supposed to promote safety for not only bikers, but also people driving to pay more attention. Bike SLO County put it up on Foothill [near where Kennedy was hit]...it is painted white and it has a turquoise sign that has Kennedy's name painted on it.
KCBX: Was there any kind of memorial, has that happened?
BARNES: [Cal Poly administration says] they are having a celebration of life service on September 18 at 5:00 p.m.