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Thanksgiving eve crash takes lives of 2 cousins

Copyright © 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Jakob Montoya, left, and Kayden Montoya, right. The cousins, ages 19 and 23, were killed in a crash on Irving and Universe NW on Nov. 21.. (Courtesy of James Montoya)

Jakob Montoya, left, and Kayden Montoya, right. The cousins, ages 19 and 23, were killed in a crash on Irving and Universe NW on Nov. 21. (Courtesy of James Montoya)

It was around 10 p.m. the night before Thanksgiving when cousins Jakob and Kayden Montoya dashed out to the store to get a HDMI cable so they could watch games the next day.

It was to be the first Thanksgiving 23-year-old Kayden hosted in the Ventana Ranch home he shared with his girlfriend and her young son. They had spent all afternoon getting ready and preparing dishes for the upcoming feast, said Kayden’s father, James Montoya. They were expecting about 25 family members for the dinner.

But less than five minutes from the house, as Jakob turned north on Universe from eastbound Irving NW, the cousins were T-boned by an oncoming Chevrolet Camaro, according to a search warrant affidavit filed in 2nd Judicial District Court.

Their Nissan Altima spun out, rolling over and over before it stopped on the sidewalk.

Kayden died at the scene. Jakob, 19, was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where he died.

According to the affidavit, driver of the Camaro, 21-year-old Dominic Martinez, and his two passengers were taken to the hospital. All three were later released.

A witness told police both drivers had a green light when the Nissan turned onto Universe in front of the Camaro, which was headed west on Irving.

The witness also said the Camaro “appeared to be traveling at a high rate of speed, possibly 70 to 80 miles per hour,” according to the affidavit. Court records show Martinez had two previous speeding tickets for traveling more than 20 mph over the speed limit.

The Journal was unable to locate him for comment.

A spokesman for the Albuquerque Police Department said officers are analyzing the “black box” in Martinez’s car to determine how fast it was going. They have also executed a search warrant to test his blood for alcohol.

Both tests are pending, and no charges have been filed.

James, who raised Kayden as a single father after his wife’s death, said his son was more of a big brother to Jakob than a cousin.

James and Kayden even lived with Jakob and his family for several years in Colorado when the cousins were preteens and teenagers.

Kayden loved sports and had moved back to Albuquerque a couple of years ago for a job. He met his girlfriend and soon became part of her family, too – coaching her 7-year-old son in basketball and taking him to school.

Jakob, “a very quiet soul and a sweet kid,” lived in Southern Colorado and ran a house-painting business with his father after he graduated high school last year, James said. He was always the one to calm everyone else down when things got too crazy, and he loved sketching and playing music.

“They complemented each other so well,” James said. “Kayden was just a big brother to him and they took care of each other. They really did.”

James, who also lives in Colorado, had come down with Jakob to celebrate Thanksgiving with Kayden, his girlfriend and other family members.

James said he expected the two to return from the store in 30 minutes at the most and started to get worried after an hour. Neither was answering his phone.

So James went out to look for them. When he turned onto Irving, he saw the wreckage and suspected there had been a fatal crash.

“(The officers) didn’t give me a lot of information, but they gave me enough information to let me know that Kayden and Jakob didn’t suffer,” James said. “That it was basically instant for both of them.”

Instead of the festive Thanksgiving they had planned, the family instead spent the day making phone calls, grieving and trying to cope with what had happened.

When they went to retrieve the cousins’ belongings from their car in the salvage yard, the car was so badly damaged they had to use a crowbar to pry it open, James said.

Jakob’s father, who had been in Oklahoma for the holiday, drove the 16 hours to to Albuquerque. Other relatives who had been heading out of town turned around and returned home.

As family gathered at Kayden’s home and his grandmother’s home across town, James said, they picked at the food they had been planning to serve for Thanksgiving.

“It wasn’t anything what you would think of a Thanksgiving dinner, that wasn’t existent for either home this year,” James said.