Riverside Police Department Press Release


For Immediate Release

Date Friday, January 7, 2006
Contact Sergeant Duane Beckman
Phone (951) 826-826-5237


Fatal Traffic Collision – Motorcycle vs Vehicle



Riverside, Ca- On January 7, 2006, at 4:10pm, 38-year-old Nang Zo, a Riverside resident, was pulling out to cross La Sierra from the stop sign at westbound Nebraska driving her 1992 Mazda MPV van. Her two young children, ages 8 and 4, were seat belted in the back seats of the van.

Sametto James, a 29-year-old Riverside resident, was riding his 2003 Harley Road King motorcycle north on La Sierra in the outside lane approaching Nebraska at an unknown speed as the van began to cross La Sierra. Based on witness statements and debris at the scene, Mr. James attempted to brake to avoid collision, but struck the vans driver door broadside. The impact launched Mr. James over his motorcycle, into the mini-van’s front passenger area and the van overturned.

Gerardo Ponce, a 39-year-old Riverside resident, was riding his 2004 Yamaha motorcycle in the inside lane a short distance behind the Harley motorcycle, north on La Sierra. He also braked, lost control of his motorcycle and clipped the rear of the minivan. Mr. Ponce came off of the motorcycle and both he and the bike skidded to the curb area just north of the collision.

Riverside Fire and Police were called to the scene by neighbors and witnesses. They arrived a short time later and Riverside Fire fighters were able to free the occupants of the van by cutting off the roof. The children sustained minor injuries, but were taken to Kaiser Hospital for further examination. Gerardo Ponce sustained a minor abrasion and was released at the scene.

Sametto James was treated at the scene and taken to Riverside Community Hospital where he was taken into surgery and is listed in critical condition with pelvic, femur, wrist fractures as well as various lacerations.

Nang Zo was taken to Kaiser Hospital where she was pronounced deceased. She sustained major head, neck and body trauma.

Members of the Riverside Police Department’s (M.A.I.T.) Major Accident Investigation Team responded and the collision is under investigation. Anyone with further information can contact Sgt. Duane Beckman at (951) 826-5237.