CARLSBAD — A 42-year-old Carlsbad woman was arrested and charged with vehicular manslaughter in a crash last August involving a Toyota 4-Runner and an electric bicycle, police said this week.
The driver, Lindsay Turmelle, 42, was charged with misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in a fatal collision with cyclist Christine Embree at the intersection of Basswood Avenue and Valley Street in Carlsbad, according to Lt. Alonso DeVelasco of the Carlsbad Police Department.
Christine Embree, 35, was riding an e-bike with her 16-month-old daughter Delilah at the time of the incident. The infant, equipped with a helmet, survived without injury despite being thrown from her mother’s e-bike.
According to DeVelasco, Christine Embree was rushed to the hospital, where she died the following day.
Turmelle was charged and arraigned after a 9-month investigation by the CPD Traffic Division and the California Highway Patrol’s Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team.
Turmelle, who remained at the scene after the crash, has pleaded not guilty. Law enforcement determined drugs and alcohol were not a factor in the incident. Carlsbad police are seeking to speak with any witnesses to the crash.
Roughly one month before the fatal incident, Christine Embree’s husband, Bob Embree, a firefighter with the Orange County Fire Authority, warned city officials about the dangerous road conditions in the area, particularly along Tamarack Avenue near Valley Middle School.
After medics extricated Christine Embree from the scene, she arrived at the hospital with severe damage to her internal organs. According to her husband, surgeons said it was a “miracle” his wife had survived to that point and described her condition as “the worst case they’ve ever seen.”
“I don’t want anyone to suffer the way I’ve suffered,” Bob Embree said during an Aug. 16, 2022, council meeting. “My daughter doesn’t have a mom. Here I am trying to save another life because my wife’s life was lost. I beg you.”
A memorial was set up at the intersection on the northwest corner of Carlsbad High School. A GoFundMe page has totaled more than $145,000 in donations to help cover funeral expenses.
Bob’s parents, Mark and Gretchen Embree, also shared remarks with the council, describing their daughter-in-law as “the sunshine of their life” and reminding the council they must serve as caretakers for all residents.
“I’m asking (you) to address the factors allowing selfish individuals to break to the rules of the street,” Mark Embree said, fighting through tears. “Please don’t allow Christine’s death to become yesterday’s news.”
One week after Christine Embree was killed, local cyclist Brad Catcott was fatally struck on Aug. 15, 2022, by a motorcyclist and passenger fleeing from a California State Parks officer on Carlsbad Boulevard at Palomar Airport Road and Island Way, according to Carlsbad police.
Eric Monte Burns, 29, is accused in the crash that killed the 68-year-old Solana Beach resident. Burns and his passenger, a 22-year-old woman, were hospitalized with severe injuries from the wreck.
Along with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, Burns is charged with evading an officer causing severe bodily injury, DUI causing injury, and allegations of causing great bodily injury to both Catcott and his passenger.
Burns pleaded not guilty to criminal charges in October 2022. A civil lawsuit filed by Catcott’s family alleges the motorcyclist reached 100 mph.
Shortly after the deaths of Catcott and Christine Embree, the city declared a local state of emergency, citing a 233% increase in vehicle-bike collisions in the last four years. After reporting 30 crashes in 2019, vehicle-bike collisions have nearly doubled yearly, from 60 in 2020 to 100 in 2021.
“This is an issue that affects every single member of our community, and it will take all of us working together to make our streets safer,” Chadwick said.
The action by the city and City Council freed up $2 million for interim and long-term solutions. The city also held a public workshop in October 2022 to generate ideas and receive feedback regarding solutions.
In addition, the city also launched its “Safer Streets Together” program, which focuses on education, re-engineering city roads and increasing enforcement.
The city has also partnered with the San Diego County Bike Coalition and held school events to encourage parents and students to sign a safe driving and cycling pledge.
City News Service contributed to this report.
CORRECTION: A previous version incorrectly reported that Turmelle was arrested after an investigation. However, Turmelle was only charged and arraigned, never arrested. We sincerely regret the error.