Beachcomber Reporter Dies Following Traffic Collision

Sean Christopher Belk, a reporter for the Beachcomber, died Friday evening, Jan. 11, following a collision on Obispo Avenue, just south of Broadway. Long Beach Police officers were dispatched to the scene at 8:36 p.m. and the preliminary investigation indicated it was a head-on collision between Belk’s southbound Kia Soul and a double-parked cable television utility truck facing north.

Belk, 36, was transported to Memorial Medical Center and “did not survive the severe injuries sustained,” according to the LBPD. Seeking to notify next of kin, the hospital contacted friend and fellow Beachcomber reporter Kirt Ramirez – who resides in the same apartment building as Belk, which is one block from the accident scene.

Ramirez said that Belk was like a brother and that he “will miss him dearly.”

According to information received from the LBPD “The driver of the other vehicle had a valid license, stayed at the scene and cooperated with the investigation. There was no indication that drugs or alcohol were a factor and the investigation remains ongoing. Anyone who may have information regarding this incident is urged to call Long Beach Police Department Collision Investigation Detail Detective David Whelan at (562) 570-7355.”

The recipient of many student journalism awards, Belk received an AA degree from Long Beach City College in 2005, followed by a BA in communications from CSU Fullerton in 2009. He worked for the Cypress Event, Seal Beach Sun, Long Beach Business Journal and the Signal-Tribune before joining the Beachcomber staff in August 2016, specializing in government and business reporting. At the time of his death he was working on a story about the former Boeing C-17 assembly facility for this edition.

“Sean Belk was a master of his craft and will be greatly missed by all of us on the Beachcomber team,” said Publisher Jay Beeler. Belk was joined by fellow journalists and staff at the publication’s Christmas party on Dec. 16; it would be their last time together.

Belk is survived by his parents, Donald and Iva Belk of Westminster, and younger brothers Michael and Johnny.

Another Beachcomber reporter died in 2015 after taking photos of the May 17 Pride Parade in Downtown Long Beach. Freelancer Michael Sandow, 69, was believed to have suffered a diabetic seizure and fell, hitting his head on the sidewalk and suffering head trauma. He died eight days later at St. Mary Medical Center.

 

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Comments

So sorry to hear this. Mr. Belk is one of those who make The Beachcomber such a great newspaper. Condolences to his family and friends, and his colleagues at the paper.

Hey Sean. We go way back to the YMCA Indian Guides. I think we were 6 years old. I wanted to thank you for exposing me to music, instruments, the ocean and years of fun as we grew into adults. It hurts so bad to think that I'll never be able to thank you for the lifelong gifts that I carry with me.
You were passionate about nature, music, photography, journalism and the community you were surrounded by. Growing up you were the closest I ever had to a brother and we had some great adventures along the way.
I will miss your humor and kindness till my last day.

I love you buddy. Your pal Sal Messineo

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