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Carlsbad man arrested in bicyclist’s death

A 46-year-old Carlsbad man was booked into jail early Tuesday on a felony count of hit-and-run in the death of a bicyclist Sunday in Encinitas, the Sheriff’s Department said.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez was arrested about 11:15 p.m. Monday, said sheriff’s Sgt. Mark W. O’Connor.

Fernandez contacted Carlsbad police earlier Monday and said that he might have been involved in a collision, O’Connor said. Carlsbad police determined that his truck, a Dodge Ram 1500, was similar to the vehicle involved in the fatal accident on North Highway 101.

James Steven Swarzman, 47, was struck at 1:02 a.m. near the intersection of Jason Street by a dark-colored Dodge Ram pickup as he was riding with two other cyclists during an organized riding event. He died at a hospital at 4 a.m., the Medical Examiner’s Office said.

A sheriff’s deputy and a detective from the Encinitas station went to the residence where Fernandez was staying after his call Monday. He voluntarily returned with them to the station for an interview. The truck was impounded.

Damage to the truck was consistent with evidence at the scene. O’Connor said that a headlight assembly was found at the accident site.

The investigation is ongoing, and O’Connor said additional charges may be filed. Drinking may have been a factor, he said.

Fernandez was being held in the Vista jail on $50,000 bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Vista Superior Court.