Journalist killed in head-on crash in Bluff Heights Friday night

Police are investigating a crash that killed a 36-year-old man Friday night near the intersection of Broadway Street and Obispo Avenue in Bluff Heights.

The crash claimed the life of local reporter Sean Belk, who wrote for the bi-weekly Beachcomber newspaper since 2016, his publisher, Jay Beeler, announced Saturday.

Sean Belk. Photo courtesy of Jay Beeler.

Officers responded to the scene shortly after 8:30 p.m. and found two vehicles were in a head-on collision, Lt. Megan Zabel said.

A preliminary investigation revealed that Belk was driving a Kia Soul south on Obispo Avenue, south of Broadway, when he collided with a stopped Chevrolet Silverado that had headlamps and flashers on.

Authorities said the driver of the truck was stopped facing north on the northbound side of the roadway to pick up a co-worker.

“The collision caused the Kia Soul to also collide with an unoccupied Honda Civic that was parked along the west curb of the street,” police stated in a press release.

The driver of the truck was a 54-year-old Arizona man.

Paramedics transported Belk to Long Beach Memorial Hospital where he later died.

“Sean Belk was a master of his craft and will be greatly missed by all of us on the Beachcomber team,” said Beeler, who added that Belk received his associate’s degree from Long Beach City College in 2005, followed by a bachelor’s degree in communications from Cal State Fullerton in 2009.

Beeler said that at the time of his death, Belk was working on a story about the former Boeing C-17 assembly facility for the paper’s Jan. 18 edition.

“He was the top of the line when it came to being a reporter,” Beeler said.

Belk is survived by his parents and two younger brothers, according to the Beachcomber.

The driver of the other vehicle had a valid license, stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation, Zabel said, and there was no indication drugs or alcohol were a factor.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is asked to call Detective David Whelan at 562-570-7355.

Stephanie Rivera contributed to this report. 

Editor’s note: this story was updated with more information on the crash. 

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Valerie Osier is a breaking news and crime reporter for the Long Beach Post. She’s a Riverside native who found her love for journalism while at community college. She graduated from Cal State University, Long Beach journalism program in 2017 and covered the Palos Verdes Peninsula for the Daily Breeze prior to coming to the Post. She lives in Long Beach with her husband, Steven, and her cat/child, Jones.