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Velo club holds ride for victim

Man accused of killing cyclist appears in court days before event

Posted: September 29, 2009 10:32 p.m.
Updated: September 30, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
SAN FERNANDO — A Canyon Country man accused of killing a bicyclist while driving drunk appeared briefly in court Tuesday, just days before members of the crash victim’s cycling club planned to hold a memorial ride.

Marco Antonio Valencia, 21, is set to return to San Fernando Superior Court for his preliminary hearing on Oct. 28.

Meanwhile, the city of Santa Clarita and the Santa Clarita Velo club are hosting the Joseph Novotny Memorial Ride of Silence on Saturday in memory of the 43-year-old Stevenson Ranch resident who died in the crash.

Valencia is charged with 12 felony counts for murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony hit-and-run and several other charges. He faces possible life in prison if convicted.

On July 11, an intoxicated Valencia killed Novotny and injured at least two others when he plowed his truck into a group of cyclists on a winding stretch of Bouquet Canyon Road, CHP officials said.

Valencia had already been arrested at least three times for driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs and was convicted twice before the fatal crash, according to court records.

In one of those previous cases, last year, Valencia was convicted of driving under the influence after hitting a power pole in Canyon Country and knocking out power for hours for nearby residents. His first DUI conviction was in 2007.

Valencia is being held in lieu of more than $1.3 million at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic.
Novotny, a Minnesota native, was new to the area.

Not long before his death, he had accepted a management position at a local water filtration company. His family and friends held joint memorials for him locally and in his home state.

The ride to honor his memory meets at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Westfield Valencia Town Center.

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