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 driving under the influence of drugs when he fatally struck a bicyclist in Balboa Park pleaded guilty this week to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and other charges.

Adam David Milavetz, 39, previously faced a murder count for the July 20, 2021, death of 57- year-old Laura Shinn, an architect and director of facilities planning at San Diego State University. Following his guilty pleas on Thursday, Milavetz is slated to be sentenced next month to 13 years in state prison.

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 she was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, according to the Medical Examiner’s office.

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

Milavetz remained at the scene and was arrested there.

A subsequent search of his car turned up methamphetamine, fentanyl and hypodermic needles, according to preliminary hearing testimony.

Det. Michael Gottfried of SDPD’s Traffic Investigations Unit testified that Milavetz said Shinn swerved out of the bike lane and into his lane. He also told police his vision was obscured by the glare of the morning sun.

Milavetz remains a defendant in a civil lawsuit filed by Shinn’s widower. The lawsuit also names the city of San Diego and the San Diego Association of Governments as defendants, alleging bicycle infrastructure on Pershing Drive was insufficient to protect cyclists.



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Ellen Bullock