UPDATE: $50,000 Reward in Hit-and-Run Death of Cyclist

Paul Albert Helfen of Northridge was killed in North Hills on June 8.

The City Council Friday approved a $50,000 reward for information that helps identify and convict the driver responsible for earlier this month.

Paul Albert Helfen, 76, was struck and killed about 2 a.m. June 8 while riding his bike east on Nordhoff Street near Woodley Avenue.

Helfen, of Northridge, was hit from behind and thrown into bushes on the side of the road where he died from his injuries. Debris at the crash site led police to believe the car was a 2007-2012 Nissan Sentra.

"We know there are witnesses out there who witnessed this heinous crimes," Councilman Mitch Englander, who introduced the motion, said. "We call it a crime because it wasn't an accident. The second you flee and you pull away and you leave somebody like that on the side of the road, it's no longer an accident. It's now a crime."

Los Angeles Police Department Valley Traffic Division Captain Ivan Minsal requested the reward. Minsal appealed to body shops and car repair businesses to report any part requests for recent-model Sentras.

"He was wearing all the reflective gear. He had the safety helmet, all the things we ask our cyclists to wear," Minsal said.

Chris Maloney, Helfen's nephew, described him as an avid cyclist and marathoner. He said his uncle typically rode his bike around 4 a.m., but was restless on the morning of his death.

Maloney said Helfen lived a great life. "He lived it fully. He lived it bravely. He shied away from nothing. There should have been so many more years left in his life. We expected him to outlive all of us," he said.

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run was urged to call LAPD Valley Traffic Division at 818-644-8000.

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