Accident Kills Lake Forest Motorcyclist

A 29-year-old man dies in the hospital hours after an accident on a residential Lake Forest roadway.

A Lake Forest motorcyclist died Wednesday afternoon in an area hospital from injuries sustained in a noontime accident at the intersection of Peachwood and Palmwood Drive, authorities said.

The 29-year-old man was driving on Peachwood toward Palmwood Drive when a car sitting at a stop sign on Palmwood pulled out into Peachwood traffic, Orange County Sheriff's Department Sgt. Angel Andrade said.

The motorcyclist, who was driving behind a pick-up truck, braked to avoid the car and slid out, Andrade said.

Investigators believe the driver of the car may not have seen the motorcycle behind the pick-up, which was turning onto Palmwood as the car pulled out onto Peachwood, he said.

Sheriff's deputies and Orange County firefighters responded to the accident and transported the motorcylist, identified Thursday as Steven David Muller, to Mission Hospital, Andrade said.

Muller, who received medical treatment at the scene of the accident, initially seemed stable, according to the sheriff's department.

But at the hospital he was rushed into surgery. Muller died at 2:48 p.m. from injuries sustained in the collision, less than three hours after the accident, according to coronor's records.

The investigation into the accident is ongoing, Andrade said.

This story has been updated.

Sandi August 18, 2012 at 05:07 AM
Living within the master association of this neighborhood, I have to pass this street to get to our street. I do so with extreme caution as the drivers often pull right out in front of me, always appearing to be in a hurry. It angers me to no end. they NEVER look. One time I had to stop in the middle of the road as someone carelessly pulled out. I keep telling my husband, it's so dangerous to pass. The city/association have to be aware of all the accidents (fender/benders...driving into poles/curbs don't those have to be reported?) and we witness near misses daily. When I saw the flowers and balloons, my heart just sank. It was only a matter of time. Something has to change. I don't think a signal will work here, but perhaps a ONE WAY street? They enter only where this accident took place, and exit at the very top of Peachwood...where there is no other traffic, just an empty lot/field. My heart goes out to the deceased's family/friends and to the driver responsible for the accident as I can't imagine the guilt they must be harboring. I hope David's family can lobby for a "one-way" only street and have it renamed after him as a reminder to yield to oncoming traffic.
Sandi August 18, 2012 at 05:19 AM
We live off Calle Pradera and have to pass this street...I almost slow to a stop when having to pass anyway, as I fear the driver making left is going to pull right out in front of me...and usually does! I don't think a stop sign will help...with CA rolling stops...people will still continue to whip right out...I say make it a one -way street and exit at the top of Peachwood where there is no traffic, just a field. A lot of people won't like that, but it seems like a good idea?
Kathleen August 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
On May 3 of this year, my son was in an accident on that very spot for the same reason. Some young people who was impatient from waiting on Palmwood pulled out from behind and into Peachwood causing a driver going up that street to break suddenly. My son, unfortunately did see the break in time. Something needs to be done about that intersection. I'm hoping Steven's family will voice this out to the city. My prayers are with Steven and his family.
Jessica Slifca August 18, 2012 at 04:21 PM
I hate to put the burden on a family in Iowa. WE need to do something about this. The people who banded together to try to save the ailing rider, the people who are continually burdened by this cross street. Peachwood residents need to make a fuss until something is done. Isn't that how Via Del Rio got their light put in on Trabuco not a few hundred feet from our light? Before someone else gets hurt. If the driver of the Acura is listening, make a point in your fatality claim with your insurance about the damned dangerous street and maybe, because it was a fatality, they will say something to Lake Forest or even hold them partially accountable for this BS. There is no reason we should have to risk our lives to come home!
Jessica Slifca August 18, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Patch- What course of action do you suggest??
M August 18, 2012 at 11:34 PM
I hear you Charles! Too many times motorcyclists are riding a little too fast and weaving in and out of cars. Just the other day I went to change lanes, looked over my shoulder nobody there, looked again as I always do and just then a motorcycle was racing past (and I mean racing!). Geez, it scared me and reminded e of this article. I really hope all those here who rider motorcycles take heed and not be careless just because motorcycles are fast and small. In my book whether it's a pedestrian, bicycle, or motorcycle - car wins every time.
M August 18, 2012 at 11:40 PM
It's not a city problem but a problem of drivers who don't seem to care (as most of the comments here indicate). Like many of you are saying, slow down and stop hurrying to pull out. It happens a lot of times that people pull out in front of you because theyre rude, impatient and certainly don't care about anyone else.
Steve Muller August 19, 2012 at 07:07 AM
Here's an excerpt from the obituary I am writing for my son, to show how much we, and your community, lost that day. At the very least, let's all try to learn from this tragedy, become better for it, and remember that our choices do affect the lives of others.... Steven was born June 8, 1983, in Algona, Iowa, the son of Steve and Kathy Muller. He graduated from Clear Lake High School in 2001, N.I.A.C.C. in 2003, and the University of Northern Iowa in 2005, summa cum laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. While attending the University of Northern Iowa, he received several awards for his exhibited artwork. He continued his education at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, working on his Master of Fine Arts. Upon submitting a winning design to a jeweler in California, he and his fiancée followed his dream to California, where he became happily employed as a graphic designer by L.R.G., in Irvine, where he was loved, and respected. Steven enjoyed bicycling, skating, hiking, and being with his family; his greatest passion was his artwork. His philosophy in life was that everyone should be treated fairly, maintaining personal responsibility, in return. Steven is survived by..... a lot of very sad people. Take care.
Jessica Slifca August 19, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Thank you for sharing, Mr. Muller. I wish I could have met your son. You sound like such a proud father to a wonderful son. Thank you again Jessica
Jessica Slifca August 19, 2012 at 05:07 PM
I hope you don't mind if I print that out for the corner where his memorial is. I think everyone that passes by should read it.
Steve Muller August 19, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Hi Jessica. No, we wouldn't mind. We are considering placing the final obituary in one of your local papers, anyway, but that's apparently a slightly more involved process. Take care, and be safe.
Jessica Slifca August 20, 2012 at 02:48 AM
If you need local help, let me know
Wini Lewis August 20, 2012 at 04:31 AM
This is so sad. Sorry for your lost Mr. Muller and the family for this fine young man. I drive by that intersection everyday as I live on Palmwood. That is a very dangerous spot. Being moved from Michigan to California, one thing that surprised me is the speed limit. On a busy residential area, how can Palmwood speed limit be 35mph and Peachwood 45mph (or higher? not sure). That's ridiculous. In other state it would have been a 25mph zone. We need a traffic light in that intersection. Where to start to ask for one?
Steve Muller August 20, 2012 at 07:21 AM
Good questions. I live in Iowa. Steven's fiancee started the memorial. I think the next move is up to you and your community, if you wish to increase your odds of surviving your next drive. I am sorry about your street, but you folks out there will have to work on that. Not to be sarcastic, but I'm busy trying to put a family back together, and I'm one member short....
Charles August 20, 2012 at 01:38 PM
"Where to start to ask for one?" Contact the city. When do you think you will be able to do that and get back to us? The city or county has standards and algorithms for lights, speed bumps, speed limits, stop signs, etc.
Glenn Rueger August 21, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Charles, Motorcyclists indeed assume a higher risk when we ride on city streets and freeways but I'd like to respectfully differ with your notion that a large SUV is somehow "safe". You may have a feeling of safety in a large vehicle but that doesn't make it safe. We are seeing cars which self-park, brake autonomously, surround us with airbags, vibrate driver's seats in warning, among other features. Marketing departments are selling cars on their "safety". Drivers, as a result are becoming complacent, distancing themselves from the responsibilities of alert and proficient driving as they enjoy their lattes, cellphones, and in-dash displays. If we're viewing our vehicles as comfortable, insular tanks , and to heck with the other guy we might ask ourselves if we are becoming a less civilized society. Charles, you are probably an excellent driver; courteous, considerate, and aware while out on the road. But I wonder if the trend towards selling cars as "safe" is producing new drivers who are not seeing driving skills as the primary safety feature. There are many rude, dangerous motorcyclists out there, I agree. But please know that most of us are not riding to save money, terrorize motorists, or to seek thrills. We choose to ride for many different reasons and it's sad that we are often seen as somehow getting what we deserve when our right of way is violated. Our hearts go out to Steven's family. Mr. Muller, my condolences to you and to your family.
Charles August 21, 2012 at 03:18 PM
"...your notion that a large SUV is somehow "safe"..." I should have written "safer" instead of "safe" because "safe" isn't defined. And yes, in general, heavier vehicles are safer. I may have a feeling of safety but what I feel is irrelevant. What is relevant are the test data and traffic safety data which support the notion that heavier vehicles are indeed safer then lighter vehicles (and motorcycles). The only bummer I have with my bigger safer vehicle is the high gas prices. However, one of the only things more important than money is health.
Jessica Slifca August 21, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Mr Muller- I posted a picture of the memorial corner with Steven David's obituary framed with his graduation photo on your online Legacy Guestbook. Thank you for sharing that with us.
June N. Coddington August 21, 2012 at 07:37 PM
They are having a Planning meeting tonight to discuss the housing development at the top of Peachwood tonight. The article is in the Lake Forest Patch.
June N. Coddington August 21, 2012 at 09:26 PM
The City Council is meeting Tuesday August 21 @ 7:00 pm to discuss the "Serrano Highland Pinacle" housing project located at the top of Peachwood cul-de-sac. If you want to be heard in regards to traffic concerns please attend the meeting tonight.
Eric August 22, 2012 at 06:50 AM
Glenn is right. Though big vehicle's may be safer, the "heck with the other guy" attitude is pretty barbaric. Big vehicles are only safer at the expense of smaller ones and therefore should bring more responsibility to the driver. I share the same fear that bigger vehicles with more safety features only lessen the sense of responsibility drivers should have out there. There's nothing wrong with having a big vehicle (I have a large truck as well as a motorcycle) or extra safety features, but never should less effort or concentration be put towards driving. For your own good and the good of other motorists. As for the street safety, I'm not sure what would make it better. Maybe a stop sign with a red flashing light to get your attention, for peachwood as well, just because drivers out of Palmwood have proven to be reckless time and time again. Might as well stop and let the danger pass instead of hoping they won't jump in front of you.
JoeT August 22, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Muller, words can not begin to express my feelings to you on the loss of your son and my friend. Jah Love and God Speed to you. JoeT.
Kathy Hartwig August 23, 2012 at 07:39 PM
I live in the neighborhood & have been very moved to tears & especially prayer for his family!! I would love to contact his family & offer a meal or anything that I could do to lift them in anyway!! Please if you know where they live, email address or a phone #, please share with me!! God bless you for helping him!! May you always be at peace knowing you extended yourself in such an amazing way with a willing heart to help & you'll be blessed in heaven for your love & support!! Sincerely, Kathy Hartwig Email: kathyhartwig77@yahoo.com Cell Phone: 949-554-4517
Jessica Slifca August 23, 2012 at 08:14 PM
Kathy- His family is in Iowa. He moved here with his fiance 6 years ago. I assume she lives up Peachwood, but do not know where. I am sure you can put your contact info on the pole (by the framed obituary) and if she needs anything, she may contact you that way. I do not think she has been reading the comments, as many are too harsh for a broken heart. Steven David's father is very appreciate of all of our support. Peachwood is a much closer community that I expected, but this incident has made that very apparent. I feel lucky to be surrounded by such caring and helpful people. Hopefully it will stay that way with the addition of the new streets and homes.
xxxxxxxxx August 25, 2012 at 10:43 PM
Not to mention motorcyclists are just as Careless and just as much at fault when incidents like these occur. A sudden impact to the front of a vehicle could only be the result of the motorist not seeing the motorcycle if it were skirting the truck as it signaled to turn. Too many times motorcyclists are often inconsiderate and lack patience when crowding a vehicle that may choose to signal at the last minute. Furthermore, putting themselves in a blind-spot when swerving around the vehicle in protest just to sustain speed while on the road.
Glenn Rueger August 26, 2012 at 01:11 AM
An anonymous person said: "Not to mention motorcyclists are just as Careless and just as much at fault when incidents like these occur." I'd like to apologize to the Muller family for the utter insensitivity of this person's remark. I'm not even going to dignify it with a rebuttal.
xxxxxxxxx August 27, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Glenn Rueger, You comment, "I'm not even going to dignify it with a rebuttal." is in itself, a rebuttal. (Duhh...)
Jessica Slifca August 27, 2012 at 03:04 PM
What a generalized statement. Had it been in a Walmart parking lot, would you just assume he was white trash?
Jessica Slifca September 01, 2012 at 12:33 AM
It looks like another fatal collision at Peachwood today, August 31. What is going on here? Sarah, please investigate this new one. How many times?!?
Jessica Slifca September 01, 2012 at 01:21 AM
Sorry, I guess it was Via del Rio, the new light on Trabuco just north of Peachwood


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