Michelle Weissman Las Vegas cyclist killed in prank gone wrong which sees passenger Giovanni Medina Barajas also killed with driver, Rodrigo Cruz charged with murder.
A woman riding her bicycle in Las Vegas on the weekend was killed when a passenger riding in a van leaned out of the window and shoved her, causing the cyclist to fall and hit her head. The incident also led to the ‘prankster’ being killed moments later, police said.
Michelle Weissman was riding in the bike lane greeting pedestrians she knew, when a burgundy van driven by Rodrigo Cruz, 22, pulled up along Hollywood Boulevard, Sunday morning at 7.30am as the cyclist continued to make her way.
It was then that Giovanni ‘Gio’ Medina Barajas, who was riding as a passenger in the front seat leaned halfway out of the moving vehicle, in an attempt to strike one of the pedestrians, only to miss and instead pushing Weissman and causing her to fall to her death. In the process of shoving the victim, the prankster, tumbled out of the open window and struck his head on a lamp post, resulting in his own 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 KVVU reports.
Cruz has since been charged with open murder, duty to stop at the scene of an accident and a parole violation.
Weissman, reported to be in her 50’s was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple blunt force injures and her death ruled a homicide.
Barajas fell out of the van and also died of multiple blunt force injures, with his death being ruled an accident.
Metropolitan Police Department homicide Lt. Ray Spencer described the deaths as ‘senseless.’
Despite the driver fleeing the scene, police were able to later identify Cruz as the driver through interviews with friends and social media, before eventually tracking Cruz down at his home.
There, they located a burgundy Toyota Sienna van with damage consistent with evidence at the scene of the accident.
During police questioning, Cruz allegedly offered contradictory explanations as to what had happened.
The man eventually conceded driving the van, which he stated was going 50-60mph when Barajas, who had been seated in the front, leaned out and pushed Weissman off the bike.
Driver denies intentionally driving in way to make impact
Cruz, however, denied purposefully 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 led to him being incarcerated for four-and-a-half-years the Las Vegas Sun reported.
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.’