A memorial on the northbound side of Pershing Drive honors Laura Shinn. Photo by Chris Stone
A memorial on the northbound side of Pershing Drive honors Laura Shinn. Photo by Chris Stone

A man who was allegedly driving under the influence of drugs when he fatally struck a bicyclist in Balboa Park was ordered Thursday to stand trial on charges that include murder.

Adam David Milavetz, 38, is accused in the July 20, 2021, death of Laura Shinn, 57, an architect and director of facilities planning at San Diego State University.

Police said that at about 7:30 a.m., Shinn was struck from behind while riding in the bike lane on Pershing Drive. She was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, where doctors pronounced her dead shortly after arrival, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

Prosecutors allege Milavetz was under the influence of methamphetamine and fentanyl when he struck Shinn.

Following the crash, Deputy District Attorney Kelsey Hollander alleged Milavetz got out of his car, ran across the street and dumped a bag over a fence. Inside the bag, later recovered by police, were smaller bags containing a white substance that tested positive for methamphetamine, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

A subsequent search of the suspect’s car turned up methamphetamine, fentanyl and hypodermic needles, according to testimony.

Detective Michael Gottfried of the San Diego police’s Traffic Investigations Unit testified that Milavetz said Shinn swerved out of the bike lane and into his lane, while also stating that his vision was obscured by the glare of the morning sun.

The detective also testified that Milavetz, who stayed at the crash scene and was arrested there, denied tossing anything over the fence or possessing any drugs.

Milavetz was arrested on July 1, weeks prior to the fatal crash, for a misdemeanor DUI offense, in which he was also believed to be driving under the influence of methamphetamine.

During that arrest, an officer gave Milavetz an admonition regarding the dangers of driving under the influence, which Hollander alleged showed he was aware of the dangerous consequences of impaired driving and thus could be charged with murder.

Milavetz remains in custody without bail.

– City News Service