The Coast News Group
Cities Community Crime Encinitas

Deputies investigate hit-and-run that left woman fighting for her life

ENCINITAS — San Diego County Sheriff’s investigators are asking for the public’s help in locating the driver of a Mercedes Benz, who struck a bicyclist on Coast Highway 101 in Leucadia on Aug. 11 but did not stop.

Meanwhile, friends and family are pouring out support for the woman struck by the car, who suffered a severe brain injury during the incident.

Deputies responded shortly after 10 p.m. to the intersection of North Coast Highway 101 and Basil Street, where a 30-year-old woman on a bike in the southbound designated bicycle “sharrow” lane was hit by a car, according to sheriff’s Cpl. Brenda Sipley. The driver did not stop at the scene and fled southbound.

A family friend identified the victim as Stephanie Berger-McKenna, a marathon runner who had just left Pandora Pizza with her husband, who was following behind her on a skateboard, when the vehicle, which investigators identified as a white or silver ‘90s model Mercedes-Benz, struck her and drove off.

The family friend, Tammy Livingston, said that Berger-McKenna was transported to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where she has undergone two surgeries — one to remove a portion of her skull to reduce swelling and the second to remove a blood clot discovered following the first surgery.

Friends have set up a website updating followers on Berger-McKenna’s progress. The website has already been visited more than 20,000 times since Aug. 12 and friends have posted dozens of photos and missives wishing her a fast recovery.

Most recently, Berger-McKenna’s twin brother posted the following update:

“A big thank you to everyone for the heartfelt wishes and all of the positive energy and prayers. Steph’s surgery went well and she stayed strong and stable through the night. Hopefully the worst is behind us and all we have to wait for is to have the medical team ween her off the drugs so she can wake up. Thanks again and I strongly believe that your efforts were a major contribution to her success!”

Sheriff’s deputies, meanwhile, are asking anyone who saw the collision or has any information about it to contact the North Coastal Sheriff’s Station Traffic Division at (760) 966-3500.

Follow Berger-McKenna’s recovery at