Prominent Orange County Doctor Killed In Newport Beach Hit-And-Run

NEWPORT BEACH ( — A prominent Orange County physician and avid cyclist was killed Saturday in a hit-and-run crash, the second bicycle fatality in Newport Beach in as many days.

catherine campion ritz Prominent Orange County Doctor Killed In Newport Beach Hit And Run

Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz. (credit:

Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz, 57, of Irvine, was struck from behind by a black pickup truck as she rode her bicycle on Newport Coast Drive between Ocean Ridge and Vista Ridge Drives Saturday morning, according to Newport Beach spokeswoman Kathy Lowe.

The driver, in a full-sized black pickup truck that may have been a 2001-04 model Toyota Tacoma, sped off on Newport Coast. Investigators suspect the truck has significant front-end damage, Lowe said.

toyota black Prominent Orange County Doctor Killed In Newport Beach Hit And Run

A black truck similar to this one is suspected of hitting and killing Orange County physician, Dr. Catherine “Kit” Campion-Ritz. (credit: Newport Beach Police)

Campion was rushed to a local hospital, where she later died of her injuries. Campion’s husband, Patrick Ritz, was cycling with his wife at the time of the crash, but was not injured, police said.

Since 1994, Campion was president of the Greater Newport Physicians medical group, which has 550 member physicians. A graduate of UC Irvine and UCLA, she was one of the founding physicians of Greater Newport Physicians and served on the board for more than 20 years.

Campion’s death was the second bicycling-related fatality over the weekend.

Sarah Leaf, a 29-year-old nutritionist from Corona Del Mar, was pronounced dead Friday morning at the scene of a collision involving a stake-bed truck at Bayside Drive and East Coast Highway.

The 53-year-old male driver in that crash, which is still under investigation, stayed at the scene, Lowe said. He was not cited or arrested.

Anyone with information about either collision can call police at (949) 644-3746.


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