Police are searching for a driver who struck and killed a 46-year-old bicyclist while speeding in a stolen pickup truck in downtown Los Angeles Saturday morning.

A pickup truck owner was making a delivery in the 900 block of Wilshire Boulevard when he was approached by someone who asked for a ride just before 8 a.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said in a news release. When the pickup truck owner refused, the person got into the vehicle and locked himself inside.

The owner tried to get to him by climbing onto the bed of the truck and reaching for the door, but the suspect drove off at a high rate of speed, prompting the owner to jump off fearing for his life.

The suspect kept going, driving onto 7th Street where he was weaving in and out of traffic, speeding and driving on the opposite side of the road, police said, describing witness accounts.

Just as he approached Olive Street, he slammed into a bicyclist at a high rate of speed, police said.

The bicyclist landed on the hood of the truck, and the driver kept going.

The victim fell from the truck near Hill Street — about 150 feet from where he was hit, according to LAPD.

Witnesses called for help, but paramedics couldn’t save the man’s life. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Officials didn’t identify the victim, but Ride for Black Lives said he was Branden Finley, a member of the group.

The suspect driver continued, eventually crashing again into two other vehicles before he ditched the truck.

Video surveillance captured him taking off a blue hooded sweatshirt and putting on a white one, police said. He was seen holding what appeared to be a steering wheel as he walked away.

LAPD released these surveillance images of a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash in downtown Los Angeles Jan. 16, 2020.
LAPD released these surveillance images of a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run crash in downtown Los Angeles Jan. 16, 2021.

He was last seen also wearing black pants and was barefoot. LAPD described him as being 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighing about 150 to 160 pounds.

He may also have injuries to his head from hitting the windshield on the second collision.

LAPD said a $50,000 reward is available for information on the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD Detective Juan Campos at 213- 833-3713 or email 31480@lapd.online. During weekends and off-hours, calls should be directed to 1-877-527-3247.

Those who prefer to provide information anonymously can call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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