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May 10
1877 - Newhall School District formed, upon petition of J.F. Powell and 47 others [story]
Newhall School kids


A bicyclist was struck and killed by a car Wednesday afternoon on Placerita Canyon Road, just east of the 14 Freeway.

The cyclist was identified as 53-year-old Rod Bennett of Valencia, the band director and math teacher at Arroyo Seco Junior High School.

“Rod Bennett was a beloved teacher, mentor and friend to so many at Arroyo Seco,” said Principal Rhondi Durand in a statement.

According to Bennett’s LinkedIn page, he has been with the Hart District since 1999. He received his bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and obtained a master’s degree from UCLA in 1988. An avid cyclist, he also played marimbas in a combo that performs restaurants around Valencia.

rodbennett

Bennett at Amgen in Santa Clarita on May 15.

Durand said Arroyo Seco’s Showcase production, scheduled for Thursday, has been canceled.

She said crisis counselors and personnel from the district office will be on campus throughout the day Thursday to assist students and staff.

The California Highway Patrol is asking for help in locating the motorist, who fled the scene of the crash.

The suspect vehicle is described as a dark gray Mazda 3 with a roof rack and a cracked windshield.

The car was last seen headed east on Placerita Canyon Road at a high rate of speed.

Anyone with information is urged to call 911 immediately. Callers may remain anonymous.

Supervising Fire Department dispatcher Eddie Pickett said the victim was not transported to the hospital. The crash was reported at 4:39 p.m.

Perry Smith of Hometownstation.com contributed to this story.

 

 

fatalcrash

hitrun052516a

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53 Comments

  1. Huh says:

    Extremely critical or fatal?
    *Windshield.
    Possibly or actually cracked?

  2. Mary Ladisa Mary Ladisa says:

    They left that person to die… I hope we find the person who did this

  3. Bonnie Kissinger, this was just today in our town. A-hole left a person there to die. Whether the cyclist was in the wrong or not, you do not hit a human being with your car and leave them in the road to die. The first responders passed me as I was taking my son to practice tonight. This is a road my husband has ridden on many times. We are anxiously awaiting the name of the cyclist. May he/she rest in peace.

  4. Anonymous says:

    He was my band teacher… We will miss you Mr. Bennett

  5. I hope they catch this person how sad

  6. Heartbreaking… We need to put our phones down or whatever is distracting us and pay attention to the task at hand :( lives are lost and it is happening at an incredible rate… I hope they catch the driver – I hope his/her conscience catches up with them.. Life is precious.. One should not lose theirs by a hit and run driver.. RIP

  7. So sad. Thoughts and prayers with his family, fellow teachers, and Arroyo students. It’s a tragedy for our whole community.

  8. Justine Sklar says:

    You will be missed by many I wear black today for you but you are in a better place now RIP Mr. Bennett

  9. Nick Pavelka Nick Pavelka says:

    Very sad. But I don’t think they should allow bicycles on streets like that not enough room

    • Dave says:

      Maybe they shouldn’t allow cars on a road like that – not enough room.

    • Eric Onesto Eric Onesto says:

      Maybe you should pay attention and share the road……remember the law say 3 feet to pass!!!!!

      • zach swift says:

        maybe you should think about what your saying before it comes out of your mouth mr. bennet was a great man and the person that killed him should pay

    • Hope they find the person. There is no excuse to flee. This road is dangerous for cars and bikes because it is curvy and I drive at the speed limit or below but when you come around a corner you don’t know what you’ll come up on (car on the wrong side to go around a bike or another car, bike, deer, or other wildlife). I hope they find the person responsible. I am sorry for this teacher, his family, friends & students. My friend had to break the news to her son this morning who is a band student. Sounds like he was a mentor, loved by his students. How very sad and such a loss for the community.

    • Jacqueline Torres says:

      Very sad. Someone actually thinks there should be room on our streets for violent criminals, but not for others who are using the road lawfully.

      Criminal motorists deserve “enough room” in our prisons, not on our streets.

  10. Marcy Shaw says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Rod’s family, friends, co-workers and students. I live at the end of Placerita Canyon Rd., and bicyclists are on the road at all hours of the day. We need to share the road, be considerate of others and value human life. Hopefully, the driver will turn him/herself in.

  11. I love this city but I HATE the crazy speeders drivers, and the worst part is that always good people die and those stupid drivers still out there

  12. Laura says:

    I drive this road everyday, reckless drivers speed and pass me on blind curves at all hours day and night. I have seen many accidents over the past 18 yrs; cars driven off the road, into the hillside, into power poles. People, SLOW down. It’s not worth someone’s life. This is very tragic. I hope they catch this reckless loser. Prayers to the family.

  13. Tragic loss…praying for family and Arroyo Seco students

  14. Ralph Green Ralph Green says:

    SCV is home to some of the worst drivers I’ve ever seen. Theirs no more drivers ed in school and pedestrians are suffering for it. The way I see it is bring back drivers ed and make it mandatory for graduation like in 08. Sure it won’t be a cure but it’ll be damn better than what we have now

    • Shar says:

      It’s not about drivers ed. It’s about paying attention and respect. More people out here are using cars as a weapon. If they want in your lane… they will push into your lane and drive you off the road. This is a tragic thing that is happening all over Santa Clarita. Deaths by car and memorials to remind people to slow down. Maybe having the cameras turned back on and fines at the price of a house payment would make people pay attention.

  15. This is an absolute tragedy. Please don’t let what in about to say downplay that. I don’t know the situation or if this applies at all.. But.. I can’t tell you how many cyclists I have either seen almost get hit, or have almost hit myself because they like to ride the line between the car and bike lane. When they have 4-5 feet of lane there is no reason to hug the side closest to the cars. They drift over into the car lane a lot.. While yes, drivers need to be alert and pay attention, cyclists also need to stop thinking they own the road and can bike wherever they want. They are given their own lane for their safety.

    • Couldn’t agree more. The city needs to make a bike lane. The canyon is way too narrow.

    • I think cyclists should stay out of canyons too.. There isn’t enough, and sometimes there is no, shoulder on the road and even cars driving the speed limit take wide turns. The corners are too blind. If you want to cruise canyons get a motorcycle or a car

    • He was hit from behind, in plain view of the trash that hit him and took off. According to police reports, he was also well to the right of the road giving the car plenty of room. If people don’t drive like maniacs, there shouldn’t be a problem. Tragic. Prayers to his family and his Arroyo Seco family who no doubt love him very much.

  16. Lee Jenkinson says:

    I just got an update from the CHP; “Hit and Run vehicle is silver/dark gray Lexus with right front end damage and cracked windshield.”

  17. Joni Micals Joni Micals says:

    I knew him from my seven years at Seco. This will be devastating for his students. My prayers go out to his family.

  18. Lyss says:

    He helped me through so much my eighth grade year at Arroyo Seco. He was my favorite teacher and always was there for me. Seeing him brightened up my day. He was funny, nice and well respected. May he rest in peace.

  19. Katreann says:

    He was my elective teacher in corder one its sad that he will not be around to say good morning to every day or tell his very funny corny joks😭

  20. Evelyn potter says:

    That was my band teacher! Why would someone do this to him? We allat seco loved him, even if we didn’t know him well.

  21. Emma says:

    This should not happen but as long as drivers speed and still drive distracted and cyclists continue to ignore the rules of the road, it will…….

  22. Today was the worst day of school Mr. Bennett is my percussion teacher you will be missed he was an amazing person May the force be with you and your family.My prayers goes to all his friends and family. He Will always be part of the Arroyo Seco family love you Mr. Bennet Rest in peace. 💔❤️😢🙏

  23. zach swift says:

    I was a student of mr. bennet’s he was an amazing person, a great musician and a wonderful teacher R.I.P you will truly be missed

  24. Dan says:

    A few hours before this happened, I got letter in my mail box, from the City of Santa Clarita, stating that survey work is starting on building a horse trail along Sand Canyon Road (which intersects with this stretch of Placerita Canyon). While a horse trail will be used by few, Placerita Canyon has constant bicycle traffic. It would be much wiser (and I would think cheaper as nearly all the area is Park land) to build a bicycle trail thru the Placerita Canyon. Given the options, building a horse trail while large numbers of bicyclists are in danger makes absolutely no sense and is absolutely foolish.

  25. Kerrina Cragun-Rehders says:

    This is Mr. Bennett. He was one of the most remarkable human beings that has graced our lives. He loved life. He loved teaching. He loved music. Mostly, he loved our children. His patience and kindness were life altering. Each of the children that were lucky enough to have crossed his path were left the better for it. My own children were no exception. My daughters were some of the fortunate ones to have experienced his kindness and love as his math students. He was able to bring out the best in both of them, making them feel as if they were his favorite student. He gave them confidence and helped them to see the potential that they had locked inside of them. They were able to excel and felt his support throughout their lives. I am sure that his influence will last them a lifetime. My son, on the other hand was the luckiest by far. He had Mr. Bennett as a band director. This was Mr. Bennett’s passion. He poured his desire and enthusiasm into his band students. He was made for being a musician and band director. His love for these kids was an immense and beautiful thing. He treated these children with respect and kindness. He never lost his cool. As one of his colleges said of him “Being a band teacher is so much different, the rest of us are trying to quiet them down. Mr. Bennett brings them into a classroom and gives them all noisemakers and says ‘Let’s make some noise’. He turns that noise into a beautiful sound by passing his love of music onto each of his students.”

    Mr. Bennett became my son’s hero and mentor. He helped the kids form a Rock Club that has hosted in his classroom for many years. This year, my boy got to be a part of it, or should I say that it consumed him and turned my son into a musician. My boy was inspired by Rod Bennett to play his bass guitar unceasingly. For Christmas, my son got a used electric guitar that soon became the calming sound that was a constant undercurrent of life in our home. We have been treated to a soft murmur of guitar, bass tenor saxophone and alto saxophone which flowed through our hearts and souls like blood through our veins.

    I can say that this man was happy. I can say that he did what he loved. I can say that he lived, he truly LIVED his life. He made a difference. I am glad that I took every chance that I had to tell him just how much he meant to us, to me, for actually seeing who my children are. Thanking him for loving my children and being the teacher that made them feel special and respected. Thank you, with my whole soul. Thank you Mr. Bennett.

    Today these rooms are quiet. His absence in our lives is palpable in the silence that permeates these walls. It is the hush of broken hearts. It is the stillness left in the wake of a truly great man.

  26. Tessa Lucero says:

    @Dave and @Cristin, there is no bike lane on Placerita. The fog line (white line at the edge of the road) does not delineate a bike lane. HOWEVER, that does not mean that bicycles are not permitted on the road. They are. It is the responsibility of the driver of a car or truck to watch out for a slower moving vehicle (yes vehicle, bicycles are legally vehicles) and pass legally, just as it is the responsibility of all vehicles including bicycles to watch out for pedestrians or equestrians. And in this case whether or not the driver of the car was at fault in the collision s/he is ABSOLUTELY at fault for leaving the scene of the accident.

  27. Dina Caddy Dina Caddy says:

    If you want to write a loving message to his family you can from this link. It is a Remembrance page in his memory.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/santaclaritacommunity/permalink/1017410548354036/

  28. Jacob Henlsey says:

    I just hope that his family is ok and that he went quick and painlessly, a little prayer for my good friend and teacher

  29. So sad. Praying for his family and that the person who hit him turns them self in.

  30. Shar says:

    Mrs. Bennett,
    Our family send condolence to your family. Your husband was a wonderful teacher. Both of our sons are mourning his death along with so many students from current and past years that your husband taught math and music. He touched the community’s heart. He will be missed. Thank you for sharing him with the community.

  31. Joshua says:

    Mr.Bennett was my favorite teachers, he was my advanced band teacher. On Wednesdays he would let the rock band and I play buring his luch hour, he teached us how to play songs. He was a drumer and bass player. He always told great jokes everyday and they would cheer me up when I am having a bad day. It is sad that he was hit by a car and left to die. His death affected thousands of people. That is includimg the student at Arroyo Seco.

  32. Joshua says:

    Mr.Bennett was my favorite teachers, he was my advanced band teacher. On Wednesdays he would let the rock band and I play during his luch hour, he teached us how to play some cool rock songs. He was a drumer and bass player. He always told great jokes everyday and they would cheer me up when I am having a bad day. It is sad that he was hit by a car and left to die. His death affected thousands of people. That is including the student at Arroyo Seco. He was the most chill band teachers I have ever meet. He would also sometimes get into some of the teenage drama and he would make jokes off of that. He was always willing to help me or other people with anything music or other questions they had. He was always cheerful no matter what. He would never loss his temper, I think that os pretty amazing, but he would sometimes raise his voice to get peoples attention because they were talking to loud. After a performance he would buy 5 dozen doughnuts from a expansive doughnut shop.

  33. Joshua says:

    Mr.Bennett was my favorite teachers, he was my advanced band teacher. On Wednesdays he would let the rock band and I play during his lunch hour, he taught us how to play some cool rock songs. He was a drumer and bass player. He always told great jokes everyday and they would cheer me up when I am having a bad day. It is sad that he was hit by a car and left to die. His death affected thousands of people. That is including the students at Arroyo Seco. He was the most chill band teachers I have ever met. He would sometimes get into some of the teenage drama and he would make jokes out of the drama,he was funny. He was always willing to help me or other people with anything music or other questions they had. He was always cheerful no matter what. He would never loose his temper, I think that is amazing! After a performance he would buy 5 dozen doughnuts from an expensive doughnut shop. Yummy! I will miss him so much!!

  34. jacob says:

    i had him for one quarter he told me at the end of the quarter that i can succeed even with ADHD

  35. jacob dapp says:

    i had him for one quarter he told me at the end of the quarter that i can succeed even with ADHD. now i’m in sierra vista and doing better

  36. Joan Gilbert says:

    My heart goes out to all who have lost this man I. Such a tragic, heartless accident. Speed limits in our valley are high enough, and that’s a winding canyon road in places. To be left to die that way, criminal in so many ways. Accidents happen,but leaving someone critically/fatally injured is THE MOST SELFISH, HEARTLESS, UNFORGIVABLE ACT IMAGINABLE. Lives are changed forever by yet one more avoidable accident. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  37. Teresa Savaikie says:

    My sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the Bennett family and to all that knew and loved him. It is such a sad and yet another senseless loss of life along yet another dangerous Santa Clarita street or roadway. A senseless loss of an SCV teacher, a teacher known to be motivational, caring, fun and beloved by many. My beautiful young son, Wyatt Savaikie lost last July on another dangerous road knew and often spoke of Mr. Bennett. This tragic loss of life reminds me that our elected officials continue to ignore the fact that our streets and roads are not safe for those that walk and bike along our city streets and canyon roads. Many blame the unfortunate victims for walking or biking instead of the dangerous streets and roads that no doubt contribute to the loss of life, along with selfish, thoughtless human behavior and law enforcement’s inability to regularly monitor and enforce the already unsafe built and planned streets and roadways, there simply is not enough officers to cover, monitor and enforce our woefully weak laws and regulations. It would be nice if we all remembered that freeways are for vehicles but streets and roadways are built for people including bicyclist and pedestrians. Sadly little to no regard has been given to pedestrians and bicyclist. Our city’s so called planned community fails to protect all of those that have a right to use the roads. They are simply deadly and our city and county has a duty, an obligation to make our streets safe for all of our children, loved ones, teachers, neighbors, friends and our
    community. Enough, enough already. God Bless Mr. Bennett, his loved ones, students and all who loved and knew him.

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