Updated: Memorial To Honor 'Hero' Mom Killed in Halloween Hit-and-Run - Albuquerque Journal

Updated: Memorial To Honor ‘Hero’ Mom Killed in Halloween Hit-and-Run

A memorial to Leora Jean Dyess, who was killed by an alleged hit-and-run driver last Oct. 30 when Carlsbad celebrated Halloween, will be dedicated at 3:30 p.m. Friday, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

According to witnesses, Dyess, who had been escorting nine trick-or-treaters, literally threw her own 4-year-old daughter onto a curb, then pushed other children from the path of the vehicle before it struck her, the Current-Argus said.

In February, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway appointed a committee of city councilors to find a suitable memorial for Dyess, the paper reported.

The memorial will be dedicated in a public ceremony at Carlsbad’s new Beach Labyrinth, and Janway declared Friday as “In Remembrance of Jean Dyess Day,” according to the Current-Argus.

A memorial plaque, which the mayor said sums up his feelings and those of the city councilors and community, says: “In honor of Leora Jean Dyess, June 22, 1986 – Oct. 30, 2010. Our hero, Jean Dyess was a beloved child, wife, mother and daughter-in-law. Jean was a true hero to her family and her community. She lost her life while helping save nine children from a speeding vehicle. It was a loss felt by family, friends, neighbors and the city.”

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7:05am 4/27/11 — Carlsbad Hit-and-Run Defendant Splits With Lawyer as Trial Looms

Gilbert Melendrez Jr., 38, who was scheduled to go to trial on May 16 for the Oct. 30 hit-and-run death of a Carlsbad woman as she led a group of Halloween trick-or-treaters, parted ways with his attorney at a hearing in court on Tuesday, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

State District Judge Thomas A. Rutledge granted a motion to withdraw from the case from defense attorney Shawn Lunsford, who told the court that the case had been a drain on his staff and that his employees hadn’t been paid for their work on the case, the Current-Argus said.

“We reached an impasse as how to move forward,” said Lunsford, who asked that Melendrez find a new attorney or have one appointed for him by the court, the paper reported.

Rutledge noted that Melendrez had previously written him asking to fire Lunsford, telling the judge that Lunsford hadn’t considered witnesses Melendrez wished to call on his behalf nor had the lawyer visited him in jail, according to the Current-Argus.

Melendrez also told the judge on Tuesday that he had never received a copy of Lunsford’s motion to withdraw as his attorney, the Current-Argus said.

The fatal crash occurred on Oct. 30, 2010, the night Carlsbad celebrates Halloween, when 24-year-old Leora “Jean” Dyess ushered nine children across a Carlsbad street, the paper reported.

With a jury trial scheduled to start in just three weeks, Rutledge told Melendrez he had left the court with very few options and that the May 16 trial date still stands and that every one of the 40 or more potential witnesses who have been subpoenaed to appear will be required to do so or face arrest, the Current-Argus said.

“If it seems like my temper is getting short, that’s because it is,” said Rutledge, who has planned to retire on June 17 but will postpone it to see the case through, according to the paper.

“I don’t want this family waiting until September or October for this to be resolved,” Rutledge told Melendrez. “Let your attorney know — the trial date is set for June 27.”

Melendrez is charged with vehicular homicide and other crimes, including tampering with evidence, child abuse and failure to give notice of an accident or render aid, according to earlier reports.

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6:30am 12/1/10 — Carlsbad Man To Stand Trial for Halloween Hit-and-Run: Young mother was struck and killed as she ushered nine children across street.

Gilbert Melendrez Jr., 38, of Carlsbad will stand trial for the hit-and-run death of a young mother on Oct. 30, a magistrate judge ruled Tuesday, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

Melendrez is charged with vehicular homicide and other crimes, including tampering with evidence, child abuse and failure to give notice of an accident or render aid, the Current-Argus said.

He is accused of striking and killing 24-year-old Jean Dyess as she ushered nine children across a Carlsbad street on Oct. 30, the night Carlsbad was celebrating Halloween, the paper reported.

At a hearing before Magistrate Judge Richard Van Dyk Tuesday, Melendrez’s attorney Shawn Lunsford waived his client’s right to a preliminary hearing and conceded that the case should be bound over to state District Court for trial, the Current-Argus said.

Lunsford asked that Melendrez’s $500,000 bond be reduced, but Van Dyk ruled that $500,000 cash or surety bond be beefed up to a cash-only bond for reasons of community and public safety, the paper reported.

 


 

6:05am 11/11/10 — Carlsbad Man Arrested in Fatal Hit-and-Run: Mother was killed saving her children who were trick-or-treating on Oct. 30.

Carlsbad police on Wednesday arrested a man in the Oct. 30 hit-and-run that killed a local mother as she was escorting a group of trick-or-treating children, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

Gilbert Melendrez Jr., 38, of Carlsbad, was arrested around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and charged with vehicular homicide and other crimes including failure to give notice of an accident or render aid, driving on a revoked license and child abuse, the Current-Argus said.

Leora “Jean” Dyess, 24, tossed her 4-year-old daughter to safety and helped other children from the street before a pickup truck smashed into her on a narrow residential street on the night Carlsbad celebrated Halloween, the paper reported.

An anonymous tip led police to the location of what was believed to be the red Ford pickup truck that was involved in the crash, and investigators interviewed several witnesses and focused on two persons of interest, leading to the filing of a criminal complaint, the Current-Argus said.

Officers and detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Melendrez on Wednesday afternoon, the newspaper reported.


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