The coroner’s office has released the name of a 41-year-old man who was killed while riding a scooter in Ocean Park.
The man was identified as Michael Ramljak. He was riding a personally owned electric scooter on 3rd Street between Hill Street and Ashland Avenue after 8 p.m. on Mar. 15 when he fell onto the road, according to the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD). A vehicle also traveling south hit him. The driver got out of his vehicle but fled the scene before first responders arrived.
Ramljak suffered significant head and body trauma and was transported to a local hospital in critical condition. He died shortly after.
The vehicle that hit Ramljak is an older, off-white or tan sedan, possibly a Toyota Camry with damage to its front passenger’s side. The driver, who has not yet been found, is a white man in his 30s and is 6 feet 2 inches tall with a medium build. He has a shaved head or short hair and was wearing prescription glasses.
The investigation is ongoing and investigators are interested in speaking with anyone who was in the area near the time of the collision. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Investigator Scott Pace at (310) 458-8954 or SMPD at (310) 458-8495.
Ramljak was the owner of Giggling Machinist Mobile Welding and Machining and lived in Culver City, said his friend, Nicholas Prechter. He was also a board member of the German American Club of Santa Monica, said his friend and fellow board member, Andrea Fenninger.
Fenninger said Ramljak was gentle, kind and helpful.
“He was always willing to help or volunteer to make things easier,” she said. “What happened is really stunning and unexpected to everyone who knew him.”
Prechter became friends with Ramljak while they were growing up together in Brentwood. They attended Westmark School, a private high school for children with learning differences in Encino.
Prechter also described Ramljak as generous with his time and resources.
Ramljak often went on camping trips Prechter organized. Once, Prechter asked him the night before a trip if he had firewood, and when he came to Ramljak’s home the morning of the trip to get the firewood, he discovered that Ramljak had driven to his family’s ranch near Riverside overnight to get firewood.
“I told him, “you don’t have to drive hours at night to get me firewood,” and he just said, “you needed firewood, so I drove to the ranch to get you some”,” Prechter said. “He always wanted to be useful and needed.”
Ramljak was a skilled welder, Prechter said, and the backyard of his house was full of tools and gadgets. He had never been interested in electric scooters until he bought the scooter he was riding when he was killed last December, Prechter added.
A funeral will be held at Ramljak’s family’s ranch on Apr. 1.
“He was real silly and had a funny sense of humor,” Prechter said. “If he knew his funeral was being held on April Fools’ Day, he would have found it hysterical.”