A Pacific Beach man faces a second-degree murder charge in the traffic death of architect Laura Shinn. She was riding a bicycle on Pershing Drive in North Park while the driver was allegedly driving under the influence of methamphetamine.
A Nov. 24 preliminary hearing has been set for Adam David Milavetz, 38, who is also charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while under the influence of drugs in the July 20 incident.
Shinn, 57, was the director of facilities planning at San Diego State University and was killed at 7:30 a.m. while on her commute to work. She had a long resume of work in the city and was married to Steve Shinn, who is also an architect, for 34 years.
A prosecutor said Milavetz was arrested a month before the incident on a charge of suspicion of driving under the influence of meth. If Milavetz is ordered to stand trial for murder, a jury will have to decide if he is guilty of murder or vehicular manslaughter while under the influence.
On his Facebook page, Milavetz wrote he was a “420 mobilization tech” for a cannabis dispensary. He also wrote he was a delivery driver for another marijuana dispensary and sometimes worked from his PB home.
Milavetz has pleaded not guilty. He remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility without bail. San Diego Police arrested Milavetz at the scene.
Shinn was an avid bicyclist and was riding to work as she often did, according to the American Institute of Architects San Diego. She was in a bicycle lane when Milavetz’s 2011 Prius struck her from behind. A celebration of her life was held Sept. 18.
Her death was closely followed by 34-year-old Johnathan Sepulveda, who was riding an electric scooter on Pershing Drive when a teenage driver killed him. In response to the two deaths, the city installed plastic bollards to separate the bikeways on both sides of the road. The bollards are a temporary measure until SANDAG permanently separates cyclists and scooter drivers from cars.
The AIA said Shinn was “committed to cycling as an environmentally responsible means of transportation, and she had been training for a fun cycling adventure with family and friends this summer.”
Her legacy includes the Laura Shinn Diversity in Architecture Scholarship that is granted to students in high school, community college, graduate and post-graduate students who are pursuing degree programs at accredited schools of architecture.
She was board president for the American Institute of Architects San Diego this year. The AIA issued this statement statement on their web page:
“The loss that Laura Shinn leaves is immeasurable. She was bright, energetic, ambitious, tenacious, personable, and utterly kind-hearted, through and through… She approached life—and every endeavor—with enthusiasm, passion, and vigor.”
— Neal Putnam is a local court reporter. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.