Local motorcyclists join second annual Lesley Zerebny Memorial Ride
■ By Corey Evan / Reporter
It’s been two years since Palm Springs Police Officers Lesley Zerebny and Jose Gilbert Vega were gunned down by John Hernandez Felix. But for David Kling, a 30 year veteran of the California Highway Patrol who is now a part-time officer at the Palm Springs Police Department, it still feels like only yesterday that his daughter Lesley was taken from him. The San Jacinto Valley community is invited to join him for the second annual Lesley Zerebny and Jose Vega Memorial Ride on Saturday, Oct. 20.
“The first ride was actually an impromptu one, put on by bikers a week after Lesley and ‘Gil’ were killed,” says Kling, who is helping organize this year’s ride along with the head of Palm Springs Police Officers Association, Joe Cook, and Lee and Jackie Chandrasena of Palm Springs Motorsports. “A year after that, they had a formal ride.”
According to Kling, the charges against Felix reached another milestone this week: “He’s been adjudicated that he is (able to stand trial), so they’re estimating that (the trial) could happen in the next six months.”
According to NBC Los Angeles, Feliz potentially faces the death penalty if convicted.
It hasn’t been easy for Kling to move forward from the fateful event that occurred on Oct. 8, 2016 which took the life of Zerebny, a West Valley High School graduate, but he takes it one day at a time. “This guy, an ex-convict with a stolen rifle, just robbed us of our youngest daughter. So, it’s punched a hole in our life that we can’t really recover from. Every day we think about her. It’s tough, but the goal now of course is to keep her memory alive.”
As part of that effort, Kling keeps a digital memento of his daughter: The first-generation iPhone she bought him. “Lesley bought it for me for 99 cents, refurbished.”
Perhaps most comforting to Kling is knowing Zerebny is in a better place now. “We know where she is and at least we’ll see her again.”
The ride will officially start at Palm Springs Motorsports in Palm Springs, but riders from around the valley are encouraged to meet up for the carpool at Clark’s Towing located at 1015 South State Street in San Jacinto. Those who are able to join are invited to meet up for this ride and are encouraged to call Clark’s Towing at (951) 487-8705.
The ride will be escorted by officers of the Palm Springs Police Department, and will conclude with a memorial service at their headquarters.