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Cuesta student suspected in death of Cal Poly student


A riderless bicycle, called a “ghost bike,” was erected by Bike SLO County in honor of Kennedy Love near where he died.
Photo by Rachel Barnes

By Rachel Barnes

News Editor

A 17-year-old Cuesta student remains in custody on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, felony DUI and felony hit-and-run in connection with the death of a Cal Poly student who she allegedly struck while he was riding his bike.

Kennedy Love, 22, a fourth-year landscape architecture student, died on the scene Aug. 29 about 11:30 p.m. after being hit by the car and thrown across the roadway at the intersection of Foothill Boulevard and Ferrini Road, according to San Luis Obispo police.

“Officers immediately began CPR, which was continued by paramedics as they arrived on scene,” said Capt. Jeff Smith. “Unfortunately, all life-saving attempts were unsuccessful.”

A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine if the minor suspect, whose name has not yet been released, should be tried as an adult.

California state law forbids authorities to release the names of a minors in connection with crimes unless they are tried as an adult or the alleged crime committed rises to the level of a confidentiality waiver for the benefit of society. A judge will make this determination after hearing the alleged facts surrounding the case.

Cal Poly president Jeffrey Armstrong released a message of condolence on Tuesday evening, stating that the campus will “hold a memorial service shortly after the start of the academic year, in coordination with Kennedy’s family.” Armstrong’s message noted Love was closely involved with Front Porch, a religious organization for college students.

Candise Wade described her brother on Wednesday to the Cuestonian as someone who “was always looking out for the lonely and left out, making them feel like they could fly, and dance, and do whatever the world told them they couldn’t do.”

She said that “he loved the outdoors, he volunteered every chance he got, and he was a creative genius — a true renaissance man. Always with a guitar in his hand and self-taught, I might add.”

Wade said she will always remember her brother in this way: “Kennedy was full of life and brought joy to every situation with his authenticity, sarcastic humor, and unprecedented love. ”

While both families struggle to come to grips with the tragedy, authorities are trying to determine how the court case will proceed.

According to the District Attorney’s office, Issues the judge will consider Friday include: Whether the minor can be rehabilitated before legally becoming an adult; the minor’s previous delinquent history; success of previous attempts by juvenile court to rehabilitate the minor; the circumstances and gravity of the alleged crime committed.

“Cases such as this are everyone’s worst nightmare,” said Lee Cunningham, assistant district attorney for San Luis Obispo County.

“Sadly, death is a foreseeable consequence of underage drinking and driving,” Cunningham said. “We extend our sympathies to the victim’s family and friends, and we will seek a just result whether the case is transferred to adult court or remains in juvenile court.”

Police pieced together the alleged circumstances of the case when witnesses told them they saw two females exit the car in the Panda Express parking lot to assess damage done to the driver’s side front window and then drove away, authorities said. Police later found the same vehicle abandoned on Tassajara Street.

Investigators contacted the registered owner of the vehicle at her home in Los Osos about an hour after the crash. They “obtained a confession which she admitted to driving the vehicle which caused the fatal collision,” Smith said. “The suspect did admit to drinking alcohol prior to the traffic collision.”

A memorial was erected in Love’s honor on Sept. 2 near where he died. A riderless bicycle, called a “ghost bike,” was installed by Bike SLO County.

The organization’s communications director, Steve Akers, describes a ghost bike as a, “small and somber memorial for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street.”

Ghost bikes are symbols to remind the community of tragic events and make statements to protect cyclists’ right to safe travel, Akers said.

The bike is located on Foothill Boulevard near Ferrini Road and is painted white with a turquoise sign that has Love’s name printed on it.

“We want to encourage anybody to come down and leave flowers to keep his memory alive,” Akers said.

The ghost bike is expected to be there for an initial period of two months until the city reviews the permit again.

Akers said he “hopes something good comes out of this.”

Editor-in-Chief Garrett Smiley contributed to this article.

Photo courtesy of Love family