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Claremont woman sentenced for killing cyclist

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Claremont resident Sandra Wicksted has been sentenced to 16 years in state prison after pleading no contest to several criminal counts on Tuesday, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

Ms. Wicksted, 63, was initially charged with murder after she attempted to run over two cyclists on Base Line Road before fatally striking Claremont resident Leslie Pray as she rode her bicycle in the 1900 block of Mills Avenue on November 3, 2018.

Police received several 9-1-1 calls around 11:30 in the morning regarding a person driving erratically in a green Mercury Tracer. Several people, including other cyclists, attempted to render aid but Ms. Pray died at the scene. Ms. Wicksted was transported to the hospital and later arrested.

Friends and family of Ms. Pray, along with members of the local cycling community, gathered two days later for a vigil at the scene. Betsy Hipple, who was Ms. Pray’s partner for nine years, described her as a kind and gentle soul. About 150 people attended the vigil, and a ghost bike was dedicated to Ms. Pray.

Ms. Wicksted entered a plea to one count each of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon, and two counts of attempted murder.

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