Scott Dwane Lane

Dwane Lane was riding his bicycle home from work on January 10, 2012 when Carol Svinarich ran a red light, killing Lane. He is survived by his wife Sheryl Kearby and four children. Lane was a family man, Scout leader, business man and well respected community member.

After nearly a month of investigation, Svinarich was charged with the maximum charge under curent New Mexico law, which is the misdemeanor charge of careless driving. This charge can result in a penalty of up to $300 dollars in fines and/or 90 days probation or jail time.

“It’s probably a good day for her. You know, 90 days is nothing, I’d be happy,” Sheryl Kearby, Lane’s widow, told KRQE News 13.

Duke City Wheelmen Foundation was able to assist the Lane family by placing a ghost bike at the site of the crash on March 23, 2012.

Another man riding a bicycle was also hit in Albuquerque on January 13, 2012. This man, later identified as Michael Ryan, died a few days later from his injuries. Ryan was thought to be a homeless individual. Unlike Lane, Ryan was riding improperly, crossing Lomas on a red light when hit. All cyclists’ are well served by riding with traffic and following all traffic rules, just as we expect from any vehicle on the road.

Everyone is safer when we all follow the rules.

Chris Ore

Although Chris Ore died in 1999, this ghost bike was placed for him in 2012.  Chris was killed crossing University Blvd. at Los Lomas by a driver who ran their red light.  His parent, wife and now grown childern came to dedicate this ghost bike .  Although Chris died 13 years ago, he is still loved and missed, with this memorial giving his family another way to express their feelings.

Dan Montoya

Out on his twice weekly lunchtime ride, Dan Montoya, 53, was nearing the crest of the climb up Tramway Blvd. east bound from his office at Honeywell. Bruce Wickensburg, 78, was driving his white Chevrolet passenger car westbound on Tramway on this same fine spring Thursday, May 12, 2011.

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department Traffic Investigator Leonard Armijo said in concluding his report:

Based upon the crash investigation completed at the scene, road evidence, debris, as well as the oral interview it is this investigators findings that the driver of the motor vehicle, Mr. Bruce Wickensburg, failed to maintain his traffic lane he drove left of center and onto the shoulder of Tramway Blvd. crashing into the bicyclist (Daniel R. Montoya) which resulted in his fatal injuries. Therefore Mr. Wickensburg was found to be at fault for the crash which resulted in Mr. Montoya’s death.

The Office of the District Attorney for the Second Judicial District here in Bernalillo County has said that although the case does not fit the Homicide by Vehicle (DUI or Reckless) we will precede with Careless Driving charges against Bruce Wickensburg.


David Anderson

A set of “reckless driving” circumstances were documented sufficiently for the case against Miranda Pacheco, 25, in the death of cyclist David Anderson, 56, on March 22, 2010. Bernalillo County investigators were able to obtain statements from witnesses to Pacheco’s reckless driving prior to her swerving out-of-control, cutting across three lanes of traffic, traveling up the embankment, through a fence and crashing into Anderson on the Paseo del Norte multi-use path killing him instantly. Without this documentation of poor driving behavior before the crash she would NOT have been charged with “Homicide by Vehicle (reckless)”. The first trial began October 11, 2011, but resulted in a hung jury. The case will be retried starting October 1, 2012.

Roy Sekreta

Roy Sekreta, 43, was headed home from work, commuting by bicycle as he did most days. One of the reasons he had come to Albuquerque was because it was possible to commute by bike most of the year. Northbound on the North Diversion Channel multi-use path he was attempting to cross Comanche Blvd on March 3, 2008. Nathaniel Martin, 25, traveling east bound on Comanche, hit Sekreta sending him flying through the air across the median into the westbound traffic lane and his bicycle all the way into the diversion channel. Sekreta was pronounced dead at the scene by an investigator from the Office of the Medical Examiner.

Meanwhile, Martin fled the scene. He returned about 30 minutes later. Martin told the investigating APD officer in a taped interview that “he made a lane change to the left lane so he could pass that vehicle in the right lane when all of a sudden a bicyclist came out of nowhere in front of him. Nathanial said that he estimated his speed to be about 50 M.P.H.” Comanche Blvd. has a posted speed limit of 40 mph in that area.

Examination of New Mexico court records reveals that Martin paid a $15.00 fine for speeding “up to 10 mph over limit” and $79.00 in court costs for his actions on March 3, 2008.

Bicycle Repair Day

November 14 will be Duke City Wheelmen Foundation’s 5th time to help Noon Day Ministries clients with their main form of transportation, their bicycles.  We install front and rear blinky lights, give out other safety gear including Albuquerque bike maps and mechanics from the Trek Superstore give their bikes some basic maintenance.

John Anczarski

John Anczarski, 19, had ridden his bicycle, along with three friends, all the way from Ringtown PA to NM Highway 124, about 40 miles west of Albuquerque. This group, called Pink Pedal, was riding to raise money for breast cancer research. On June 21, 2010 Gilbert Waconda was driving this stretch of road at the same time, but looking for off to the opposite side of the road, when he crashed into Anczarski.

John’s parents, after flying to Albuquerque from Pennsylvania, took him off life support the next day, holding him as he succumbed to his injuries.

In a letter dated September 29, 2011, describing why Waconda would not be charged in the case, U. S. Attorney Kenneth Gonzales told Anczarski’s parents:

Under applicable federal criminal law, sustain a conviction for involuntary manslaughter, prosecutors must establish, beyond a reasonable doubt that a subject was reckless. Under controlling law, mere negligence or carelessness is insufficient to meet this burden of proof. Applying these legal standards to the facts established by the investigation, my Assistants and I have concluded that, although the evidence indicates that Mr. Waconda may have been inattentive of may have failed to keep a proper lookout, it was insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Waconda’s conduct rose to the level of recklessness.

The handling of this case has raised concerns not just here in New Mexico.

John’s Aunt and Uncle visited the bike in 2011

Matt Trujillo

Matthew Trujillo died on May 26, 2011 from injuries sustained on May 12, 2011. The motor vehicle driver in this case, Memori Hardwick, 20, crashed into Trujillo, 36, while running a red light, but more importantly was found to be under the influence of drugs. This combination of circumstances has led to a Grand Jury indictment on the charge of “Homicide by Vehicle (DUI).”

Due to Memori’s history with drugs, including outstanding charges, she chose to plead guilty to the charges of vehicluar homicide and leaving the scene.  She was sentenced on September 7, 2012 before District Judge Ross Sanchez.  She received a sentence of six years for the vehicluar homicide which will be served concurently with an 18 month sentence for posession of a controlled substance.  An additional three year sentence was imposed for leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in great bodily harm or death.  Hopefully a period of inpatient treatment at Delancey Street (a rehabilitation center) during the subsquent parole period will allow Memori to improve her life and avoid further drug use.

Santa Fe New Mexican Op-Ed

Santa Fe New Mexican


Jennifer Buntz
Published: December 27, 2011

Sept. 7, 2007, saw James Quinn and his wife, Ashley, out for a bicycle ride from Albuquerque toward Tijeras on old Route 66. They were on the shoulder, well out of the traffic lane, another group of cyclists just behind them. Angela Browning, 19, was driving in the same direction when she struck the couple, killing James, 28, and injuring Ashley.

Apparently Browning saw the group behind the Quinns, moving left to pass them, but did not see James and Ashley. In her written statement to Bernalillo County sheriff’s officers, Browning said, “I was going about 60 mph and swerved off the road. I didn’t even see him.” Browning was found guilty of careless driving and failure to maintain the lane, paying $310 in fines and $213 in court costs.

As participants in the Sept. 26, 2009, Tour de Ruidoso bicycle ride, John and Liz Mazzola, 59 and 56 at the time of this crash, were lawfully riding their tandem northbound on N.M. 48, part of the tour route. Phillip Berryhill, 56, was southbound on N.M. 48, getting ready to make a left, when he collided with the tandem riders. The Mazzolas were both severely injured in this crash with John spending 17 days fighting for his life in intensive care at University Hospital. John and Liz will struggle every day just to accomplish normal tasks because of the injuries they sustained.

Berryhill was cited with “failure to yield,” but the $71 in fines was deferred, so that by not being cited for any additional traffic violations in the next 90 days, Berryhill paid nothing.

Think about it for a moment. What is the life of a wife or husband, child or parent worth? What value do we place on our own lives?

On Sept. 22, 2011, David Chavez, 43, was riding a motorcycle westbound on Candelaria Road NE in Albuquerque. Isaac Wright, 69, wanted to make a left turn onto Candelaria from Stanford. For reasons unknown, he pulled out directly in front of Chavez, who, although he braked hard, hit the side of Wright’s Hyundai, flew through the air and crashed to his death.

A similar crash claimed the life of bicyclist Dan Montoya, 53, on May 12. In this instance, Montoya, riding lawfully on the shoulder of eastbound Tramway Boulevard, was struck by a westbound car. Bruce Wickensburg, 78, also for unknown reasons, crossed the center line, veered onto the shoulder and killed Montoya.

Although both of these cases are being pursued by the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office, the greatest possible penalty these two drivers face for taking a life is up to a $300 fine, 90 days of probation or jail time, or both, pending a “careless driving” conviction. Why? Under current New Mexico law, the charge of “homicide by vehicle” doesn’t apply. If a victim suffers severe bodily injury or death and the driver who caused the crash was driving in a “reckless” manner or intoxicated, then the charge applies. “Homicide by vehicle” is not applicable under current New Mexico law when the circumstances of the crash are “careless” rather than “reckless.”

There are examples of states where the laws have been amended to address crashes that result in death or great bodily harm, but were not the result of “reckless” driving. Colorado legislation enacted in 2010, Careless Driving Resulting in Death, increased the number of points added to a driver’s license from four to 12 upon conviction, which is enough for drivers’ license revocation. Traffic code in Montana also has a special provision for enhanced punishment options when careless driving results in death or serious bodily injury, upping the maximum fine from $100 to $5,000 and possible jail time not to exceed six months, or both.

Add to this the release on Dec. 13, a recommendation from the National Traffic Safety Board to ban all cellphone use, even hands-free, by drivers across the country, and you start to get a picture of the national trend toward holding drivers more accountable. We invite all road users to join us in challenging New Mexico to step-up and protect all of us now, on the forefront of this movement rather than ignoring the issue and again coming up at the bottom of yet another list.

Consult to see what you can do to move this careless driving penalty initiative forward.

Jennifer Buntz is president, Duke City Wheelmen Foundation in Albuquerque.

Heather Reu

Heather Reu, 42, together with her husband Phil, parented four beautiful adopted children, ages three through seven. She was an active member of her church, supporter of many charitable endeavors and a ready volunteer worker for many causes. She was also a triathlete and frequently did her bicycle training near their house on Albuquerque’s west side. On June 23, 2009 she was out for just such a training ride, proceeding lawfully, northbound on Paseo del Volcan. A vehicle driven by Daniel Gomez-Rubio, 40, struck her from behind. Heather died at the scene.
Gomez-Rubio attempted to flee the scene, but witnesses stopped him from leaving and he was arrested. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Lindley said, “The tire of the vehicle Gomez was driving briefly left the roadway moments before he struck Reu.

Gomez-Rubio told investigators he “looked down to pick up his cell phone, which had fallen to the seat.”
Because Gomez-Rubio was not found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol (DUI), the only other charge available under current New Mexico law that would have addressed Heather Reu’s death was Vehicular Homicide (Reckless). However the Grand Jury did not find that Gomez-Rubio’s actions met the definition of “reckless driving.” The most severe charge against Gomez-Rubio was for leaving the scene of a crash that caused great bodily harm or death. There were three additional misdemeanor charges, careless driving, possession of drug paraphernalia and driving with a suspended or revoked license.
Gomez-Rubio was eventually found guilty of leaving the scene of a crash that caused great bodily harm or death while the other charges were suspended in an agreement. The three year jail term of his sentence was reduced to 18 months, with another 18 months of supervised probation

Gomez-Rubio was not penalized for the actions that led to the death of Heather Reu.

If he had not fled the scene, his penalties would probably not have included jail time.

This is exactly the type of case for which we want better legal redress; cases where a road user is left dead or suffers great bodily harm at the hand of another road user who’s actions reflect “careless driving” (66-8-114) rather than “reckless driving” (66-8-113).