UC Davis professor dies after car hits her bicycle, CHP says

A University of California, Davis chemistry professor emeritus died after she was struck by a car while riding a bicycle on a rural road in Yolo County.

Marilyn Olmstead, 77, of Davis died in the collision with the car Wednesday morning, according to the Yolo County Coroner’s Office.

The fatal crash was reported shortly after 10 a.m. just north of North Davis Farms Road and east of Highway 113, the California Highway Patrol Woodland Office reported. Olmstead was riding the bicycle west on a private road.

A 31-year-old Davis man was driving a 2002 Ford Focus about 40 to 45 mph and heading north on County Road 100A, also known as Sycamore Lane.

The CHP said Olmstead moved onto Sycamore lane, directly in the path of the oncoming Ford Focus.

The driver applied his brakes and veered to the left to avoid hitting the bicyclist. But the car’s front end struck the bicycle, according to the CHP.

Olstead was pronounced dead at the scene. The car’s driver was not injured. The CHP said the road was closed for more than two hours as officers investigated at the scene.

The CHP asked anyone with information about the crash to call the CHP’s Woodland Office at 530-662-4685.

The Davis Enterprise first reported earlier this week that Olstead was a retired UC Davis chemistry professor, and the campus community was mourning her death.

“We are heartbroken to learn that Professor Emerita Marilyn Olmstead has passed away,” said a Tweet from the UC Davis Chemistry Department. “Marilyn was a world-class crystallographer and an outstanding teacher beloved by her students. She will be greatly missed.”

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Rosalio Ahumada writes breaking news stories related to crime and public safety for The Sacramento Bee. He speaks Spanish fluently and has worked as a news reporter in the Central Valley since 2004.

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