CHP Investigating Crash That Killed Optometrist

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Rafu Staff Report

The accident that claimed the life of optometrist Ryan Yonny Koyama is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

Koyama, 69, of Rancho Palo Verdes was driving his 2003 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL south on Crenshaw Boulevard, north of Palos Verdes Drive North, in Rolling Hills Estates just after 2 a.m. on Tuesday when he struck a horse and apparently lost control of his car.

Crenshaw Boulevard in Rolling Hills Estates. Seahorse Riding Club is on the right. (Google Maps)

He was taken to Torrance Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries. The horse was euthanized at the scene.

The horse was from the Seahorse Riding Club, 26411 Crenshaw Blvd. According to The Daily Breeze, the gates were locked and it was unclear how the animal got out. Owner/trainer Devon Gibson called the accident “a horrific loss of life.”

It has not been determined whether any charges will be filed or legal action taken. CHP Officer John Tye told The Rafu Shimpo that the investigation was at a preliminary stage and it was too early to say anything further. “We want to make sure we’re thorough … Officers are investigating every possibility,” he said.

Koyama and his late father, John, had an optometry practice in Gardena’s Pacific Square. Ryan Koyama retired in 2006, and the practice is now run by Dr. Jerry Wake.

Koyama’s sudden passing was “devastating for all of us,” Wake said. “He was loved by everyone.”

A former patient of both John and Ryan Koyama commented, “That is very sad … The poor horse, too.”

Ryan Koyama’s brother, Sanford Gerry Koyama, is also an optometrist and has a practice in Fountain Valley. The father and both sons were charter members of the Asian American Optometric Society, originally known as the Japanese American Optometric Society, established in 1972.

See the obituary notice here.

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