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Arrest made in bicyclist fatality

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Cyclist dragged for nearly a mile

A man was in custody today in the hit-and-run death of a bicyclist who was dragged by a van for nearly a mile in the southeast Los Angeles area.

Felipe Avalos, 66, was arrested in Compton on Tuesday and booked on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He was being held on $50,000 bail, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The bicyclist was hit by the vehicle at about 9 a.m. Tuesday near Broadway and Imperial Highway, and was dragged to the area of Broadway and West 117th Street, where he died, according to police. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives.

“How do you not know you have something under your car?'' one witness told KTLA5 at the scene.

The vehicle that hit the bicyclist, described as an older-model white and blue Chevrolet van, kept going, and police began looking for the motorist, described only as a man with long silver or salt-and-pepper hair.

There were some initial reports that the victim might have been intentionally struck, but police could not confirm that.

“South Traffic Division detectives located surveillance video that captured the collision and images of the suspect's vehicle, later identified as an older model Chevy Astro van,'' police said in a statement.

“While interviewing witnesses, detectives obtained a possible license plate of the suspect's vehicle,'' police said. “Detectives conducted a series of follow-ups and located the suspect's van parked in the driveway of a residence in the city of Compton.

“While monitoring the suspect's van, an older male Hispanic matching the description of the suspect, exited the residence and entered the van,'' police said. “South Traffic Division detectives took the suspect into custody without incident.''

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call detectives at the LAPD South Traffic Division at (323) 421-2500, or the 24-hour tip line (877) LAPD-247. Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS or use the website www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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