Q13: Man killed in Sodo was biking to job where he worked his way out of homelessness. RIP Celso Diaz

Screenshot from Q13 News.

Celso Diaz was biking to his job at iClick’s Sodo warehouse November 21 when someone driving twice the speed limit struck and killed him while he crossed 1st Ave S at S Andover Street.

The suspect, driving a light-colored Toyota Prius, never stopped and is still on the run.

Diaz, who co-workers and friends told Q13 News went by Pete, died at the scene. He was 61.

Our deepest condolences to his loved ones.

Edward Cozarg, a friend and one of Pete’s co-workers at iClick, told Q13 that he met Pete a half decade ago. At that time, Pete was living in an encampment along I-5 between Beacon Hill and Sodo commonly referred to as “The Jungle.” Working at iClick, Pete was able to move into his own place.

From Q13:

“This is a human being. I hope they catch him, that’s all. He really was a gentle man,” says [co-worker Min] Seo.

Cozarg said just five years ago Pete was homeless and living in ‘The Jungle’ encampment.  Cozarg took him into his home and said Pete really turned his life around; he even got a place of his own. He says he was a true friend. And that is why it’s so important for them to get Pete the justice he deserves.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for any tips that lead to an arrest, including anonymous tips. The 2010-15 Prius likely had “damage to the fog lights, the front hood near the headlights and the windshield by the rear-view mirror.”

Watch the full report:

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16 Responses to Q13: Man killed in Sodo was biking to job where he worked his way out of homelessness. RIP Celso Diaz

  1. Dave says:

    Lyft and Uber should check their records. Seems like a large percentage of Priuses around town are driving for one of them.

    • Doug Bostrom says:

      It would be nice to feel confident that the city and more specifically police give this the same priority that would be assigned to a homicide involving a person who can’t be dismissed as a casualty of poverty or whatever. For instance, it would be great to feel certain that police had door knocked for CCTV records from businesses near the accident site.

      But it doesn’t feel that way.

      Tom, is there any chance you could follow up on this by asking (nicely and then more persistently if need be) the city to tell us in detail and with some case history what happens when a hit and run like this happens? Does it get priority on the level of an “accidental” shooting during a bank robbery, for instance?

      Is one life worth the same as another in the eyes and conscience of our city government? If not, how is worth assigned?

    • Tree Hugger says:

      The driver also could have been using their cell phone at the time. Could SPD get the records from the nearest cell phone tower and see if any numbers are associated with owners of a Prius.

  2. Southeasterner says:

    Sharrows do not belong on four lane arterial roads. Never ever ever. Completely false sense of safety for cyclists and absolutely not a correct bike treatment.

    SDOT should be 100% liable for his death.

    https://nacto.org/publication/urban-bikeway-design-guide/bikeway-signing-marking/shared-lane-markings/

    “Generally, not appropriate on streets that have a speed limit above 35 mph”

    1st Ave –

    https://www.google.com/maps/@47.552208,-122.334302,3a,75y,9.79h,91.4t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1swv14ju-l0BX7mjJw-3wL2g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

    • Alkibkr says:

      According to the news report, this road has a posted speed limit of 35, although suspect was doing about 60 mph. True, however, that it seems to be designed like a freeway, since people driving on it obviously are comfortable going freeway speeds.

    • jay says:

      Don’t you think the driver should have some liability?

      Also, numerically 35 is not “above” 35. I’m not so sure that the fact that “35” means “40 to 50 or whatever you feel like” is really SDOT’s fault, maybe partly, but mostly SPD’s
      Interestingly:
      “RCW 46.61.465
      Exceeding speed limit evidence of reckless driving.

      The unlawful operation of a vehicle in excess of the maximum lawful speeds provided in this chapter at the point of operation and under the circumstances described shall be prima facie evidence of the operation of a motor vehicle in a reckless manner by the operator thereof.”

      Reckless driving is a gross misdemeanor punishable by jail time!

      ps. I just watched the video, the bike rider was in a cross walk!, that is only a $175 ticket, ( https://www.seattlebikeblog.com/2014/07/03/kenmore-wont-pursue-negligent-driving-charge-in-death-of-caleb-shoop/ ) (assuming they don’t find that kilo of fentanyl in the trunk) but running is a felony!
      Even if the odds of getting caught are low, the risk/benefit ratio is bad (a Trump voter in a Prius? you don’t see that every day)

  3. Dave says:

    I will say this un-PC and socially unacceptable thing again–any vulnerable-user hit and run should be followed with 6 months of non-prosecution of auto theft and vandalism in the city where it happens. Drivers’ property deserves no greater regard than drivers give to other road users.

  4. ronp says:

    So sad, I hope his friends and family are doing OK. Rest in peace. Mr. Coazarg is a saint for taking him in and helping him out.

    As a downtown office worker bike commuting from NE Seattle I am totally privileged with the BG trail at least part way.

    I can relate to the dangers a bit with the trail closed down partially this week, I am on Sandpoint Way and NE 55th for a short stretch and it is scary.

    We need more protected bike lanes and perhaps more traffic cameras to catch bad driving.

  5. Beckyq says:

    I am so extra tired of the rhetoric that people biking are all rich white dudes in spandex or whatever. SO many people biking to work are like Pete, using the most affordable option available to them – and most of them don’t have time to advocate for safer streets because they’re busy with their lives. (As an aside, spandex dudes also deserve to be alive, but this is such a poignant reminder they’re not the only ones out there.)

  6. Doug Bostrom says:

    With roughly equal numbers of homicides versus traffic deaths in Seattle and given how we now know that speeding is the equivalent of drunk driving in terms of causing needless fatalities it’s simply astounding that Seattle continues to mostly turn a blind eye toward speeding.

    As an experiment (something many of us may have a hard time with as a daily discipline) try driving at the speed limit on a surface roadway in Seattle with double lanes. That squirmy feeling you’ll experience is because you’ve become conspicuous and the focus of anger from drivers who can’t keep themselves under control. It’s easier just to speed but that’s a dismal thing.

    We need some adults in the room, or people who can remind us that our inner child should not be in charge of the gas pedal.

    • Kirk says:

      I rarely drive, but when I do I love driving the speed limit and no more. In the left lane. People just freak out. Slow the fuck down people!

      • Doug Bostrom says:

        The weird thing is, I feel like I’m being an asshole by going the speed limit. If that’s the case maybe it’s the right role; I’m beginning to enjoy being an asshole who’s OK with the speed limit.

        Could be worse for inner children. “Speed limit” is technically like the red line on a tach; it’s the fastest safe speed for a given roadway. Meanwhile, some road segments have speed limits that are far too high too maintain good situational awareness. 15th alongside the UW comes to mind.

    • Dave says:

      Agreed–speeding, DUI, and electronic distraction need to be taken away from the realm of motor vehicle offenses and reclassified as attempted murder. A lot of driving behaviors are no different from, say, going into a crowded public place and discharging a gun while excusing your behavior as “but I wasn’t trying to kill anybody.”

  7. Dylan says:

    So messed up. Is there any enforcement of traffic laws/speed limits in Seattle? Seems like every day I see people barreling down the road at twice the speed limit in this city.

  8. Charley says:

    This could have been any of us. He was crossing the street, thinking it was clear. I’m frustrated that there have been no more leads on this case. Clear case of homicide and leaving the scene of a crime. Someone has to have seen SOMETHING — there is significant damage to this vehicle.

  9. Doug Bostrom says:

    Some places have functional police (which requires the police to have political backing):

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/dec/16/police-trace-drivers-after-woman-dies-after-multiple-hit-and-run

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