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Fundraiser To Honor Manhattan Beach Man Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Mar 23, 2022 11:48AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been created for the fiancé and child-to-be of 48-year-old Manhattan Beach resident Jay LaPlante, who was killed early on Monday morning in a motorcycle crash on Vista Del Mar in Playa del Rey.

The accident occurred at around 6:15 a.m. on Vista Del Mar at Imperial Highway. According to friends of LaPlante, he was driving straight when a car made an unexpected left turn in front of him, and he was thrown over the car. The driver of the vehicle stayed on the scene, according to police, and Vista Del Mar was shut down at the scene of the accident for several hours during the investigation. 

According to friends who organized the GoFundMe, LaPlante and his fiancé Jenelle Arnold were looking forward to welcoming their first child, a baby girl, later this summer. LaPlante had recently bought a car in anticipation of becoming a father, and at Arnold's urging had listed the motorcycle for sale. However, he decided to ride it one last time on Monday, to get to work faster and combat high gas prices.

LaPlante, a UCLA Bruin and avid sailor and cyclist,  was loved and respected by his coworkers within the LA Car Guy auto group. He managed the Toyota Santa Monica and Lexus Santa Monica stores, as well as the Subaru Pacific and Santa Monica locations. 

He was familiar to many around town with his and Arnold’s two rescued bulldogs, Charlie Murphy and Mr. Pickles. Charlie Murphy, who is disabled and cannot support himself with his front legs, could often be seen cruising the Strand in his stroller, riding behind LaPlante's bike, or enjoying the ocean views from a bench. 

LaPlante and Arnold, 36, are also known for a garden of flowers and vegetables in their small side yard, which they enjoyed sharing with neighbors. According to friends, the neighborhood children were especially enthusiastic about following the growth of two pineapples LaPlante planted.

"If you were his friend, you were his family,” said his close friend Chris Gregory. "He meant a lot to a lot of people. He was just an amazing human being."

Gregory noted that friends had recently held a "gender reveal" baby shower for LaPlante and Arnold at Pancho's. The festivities included a taco-shaped pinata with pink goodies inside. 

"He was just by far and away the happiest he's ever been in his life," said Gregory. "He was so happy and so in love with Jenelle and this baby.”

The GoFundMe was created with the goal of raising $50,000 for funeral expenses as well as for the new baby’s needs, including a college fund.

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