A woman was riding her bicycle in Las Vegas on Sunday morning when police say a passenger riding in a van leaned out of the window and shoved her, causing the cyclist to fall and hit her head, killing her.
But in the process of pushing the victim, the cruel prankster, identified as 20-year-old Giovanni ‘Gio’ Medina Barajas, tumbled out of the open window and struck his head on a lamp post, resulting in his death.
The driver of the van sped off from the scene of the fatal accident, but was tracked down by police and arrested on Monday.
Michelle ‘Shelli’ Weissman, 56, was biking in Las Vegas on Sunday morning when a passenger leaning out of a speeding van shoved her. The cyclist suffered multiple blunt force injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene
The incident took place along Hollywood Boulevard in Las Vegas at 7.30am on Sunday
According to an arrest report obtained by KVVU, Rodrigo Cruz, 22, was charged with open murder, duty to stop at the scene of an accident and a parole violation.
Investigators said Cruz was driving his burgundy van along Hollywood Boulevard at 7.30am on Sunday when his passenger, Barajas, leaned halfway out of the window as Michelle Weissman was riding in the bike lane and greeted some pedestrians she knew.
Police stated that Barajas took a swing to hit one of the pedestrians, but missed and struck Weissman. The impact sent the woman flying off her bike and onto the roadway.
Weissman was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injures injuries and her death was ruled a homicide.
Barajas fell out of the van and also died pf multiple blunt force injures, with his death being ruled an accident.
The driver of the van involved in the incident was identified by police on Monday as Rodrigo Cruz, 22, who was charged with open murder and other counts
Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer described the deaths as ‘senseless.’
Cruz took off from the scene, but police later identified him through interviews with friends and social media, and tracked him down at his home.
There, they located a burgundy Toyota Sienna van with damage consistent with evidence at the scene of the accident, according to the report.
When questioned by police, Cruz allegedly offered contradictory explanations for what happened.
He ultimately told investigators that he was driving the van going 50-60mph when Barajas, who was seated in the front, pushed Weissman off the bike.
Cruz, however, denied driving in the bike lane close to the sidewalk and said he swerved, likely trying to get Barajas to get back inside the van.
‘Gio was always doing stupid stuff but Rodrigo stated he wasn’t intentionally driving in a manner to allow Gio to make contact with any pedestrians of the bicyclist,’ the police report stated.
Cruz said he did not stay at the scene but drove home, because he was scared since he was out on parole and did not think his friend was injured.
Cruz’s criminal history includes a 2016 conviction for an armed robbery that earned his a four-and-a-half-year prison term, as Las Vegas Sun reported.
Weissman is pictured with her husband of 14 years, Lonny. She worked at a Las Vegas hotel
Weissman, known to her loved ones as ‘Shelli,’ worked at the Eastside Cannery` Casino and Hotel, operated by Boyd Gaming. The company released a statement confirming her death.
‘We are deeply saddened by the tragic and senseless loss of our team member, Shelli,’ a spokesperson for Boyd Gaming stated. ‘She was well-known and well-liked by the entire Cannery team, and we will miss her. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this very difficult time.’
Weissman is survived by her husband of 14 years, Lonny, who in an interview with 8NewsNow described his wife as a ‘ray of sunshine’ who was always looking out for family and friends.
Lonny Weissman said that what happened to his wife was a ‘horrendous and unnecessary tragedy that was 100 per cent avoidable.’