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Two Santa Feans charged in death of motorcyclist after illegal racing

SANTA FE — Two Santa Fe men are facing charges of vehicular homicide after the car they were in allegedly rear-ended a motorcycle on Interstate 25 early Monday morning, following an evening of “illegal street racing” near Waldo Canyon south of Santa Fe.

Ryan Palma

There also apparently was racing going on when the crash took place on the interstate, according to State Police criminal complaint.

Emmanuel Hernandez Gonzalez, 20, of Santa Fe, was riding a motorcycle north on Interstate 25 when he was struck from behind by a vehicle and killed.

New Mexico State Police say that Ryan Palma, 22, was driving a 2005 Infinity at high speed when he hit Gonzalez’s motorcycle and that he and passenger Armando Alvardo, 21, did not report the accident and fled the scene.

They initially lied to officers about what happened but police eventually learned of the illegal racing by a group of drivers near Waldo Canyon, the criminal complaint states. Palma and Alavarado had been at the racing contest and they also met Hernandez Gonzalez there, says the complaint.

Alavardo knew Hernandez Gonzales but did not have “close ties” with him.

After Palma and Alavardo headed back to Santa Fe just before 11:50 p.m. Sunday, Alvarado told police, they saw Hernandez Gonzalez on his motorcycle, also heading north on I-25. A black Cadillac CTS-4 passenger car approached in the left passing lane at high speed, according to Alvarado’s account. Palma tried to keep up with the Cadillac in the right lane.

Palma maintained “the same speed, 90 mph in a 75 mph zone, while attempting to look at the black Cadillac and keep the same distance as if preparing for a race on the interstate,” according to Alavarado, the report states.

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Armando Alvarado

Alvarado said he was looking at his phone and when he looked up, Palma was trying to stop before hitting the motorcycle that Hernandez Gonzalez was riding. Palma didn’t stop after the accident and drove to the La Cienega exit. Alavarado’s brother came to pick the two up after about 20 minutes.

They went back to the accident scene and saw the motorcycle off the shoulder.

Police were called to the scene about 6:50 a.m. Monday after someone spotted the crashed motorcycle. Hernandez Gonzalez was dead at the scene.

A 2005 Infinity G35 Coupe with extensive front damage was found on I-25’s east frontage road near the La Cienega exit, about a mile and a half from the crash site. Alvarado and Palma subsequently were arrested after an investigation, but how they were identified is not specified in the criminal complaint.

They were booked into the Santa Fe County jail and charged with vehicular homicide, reckless driving, tampering with evidence, failure to give information and render aid in a crash and other charges

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