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Dozens mourn man killed in BCSO chase

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Joanna Gonzales, left, mother of Carlos Hernandez, who died in a crash near Sapphire and Unser NW on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, grieves with his her daughter Esmeralda Hernandez at a vigil held Friday near the intersection. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Joanna Gonzales wailed as she kneeled in the gravel before a row of candles. Her son’s face stared up from photos glued to a poster.

“I love you with all my heart,” she said between sobs. “You’re in no more pain, baby.”

Gonzales was one of dozens who gathered at a Southwest Albuquerque intersection Friday evening to mourn the loss of her son, 18-year-old Carlos “Los” Hernandez.

Hernandez and a female – who hasn’t been identified by authorities – were killed earlier this week in a rollover crash following a chase with Bernalillo County deputies.

Family and friends of Hernandez crowded the corner where the crash occurred to light candles and play Hernandez’s music in his honor. Some of those who came wept silently as others cried out and talked about a young man who had two children on the way and, despite a rough start, had his whole life ahead of him.

“People make mistakes in life, everybody deserves a second chance. Everybody goes through a phase,” Bobby Rodriguez, Gonzales’ boyfriend, said through tears. “… This wasn’t Los for the rest of his life, he was going to get it right.”

A deputy was in pursuit of a vehicle – with Hernandez and two females inside – early Wednesday morning when it crashed into another vehicle at Sapphire and Unser SW, according to the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office. The crash killed Hernandez and one of the females and left the other, Angelic McKeller, 21, critically injured. The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle was also injured and taken to a hospital.

Joanna Gonzales places a rose at a memorial during a vigil for her son, Carlos Hernandez, who died in a crash following a chase with Bernalillo County deputies on the West Side early Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque

BCSO has not identified the other female killed in the crash, but those at the vigil said she had just turned 17.

Those in the crowd described Hernandez, one of three siblings, as a good kid with a big heart who loved to make music and was excited to be a father.

Posters laid out on the gravel beneath the candles showed photos of Hernandez and left space for people to write messages. A speaker on the ground beside the posters, between two shiny blue balloons, played Hernandez’s music as some who knew the words sang along. A woman passed candles out to be lit and held by those in a circle around the memorial.

“He was an example to a lot of people regardless of the lifestyle he was living,” Rodriguez said. “That didn’t define him; Los was defined by people that cared about him, people that prayed about him, they wanted the best for him … But we make choices in life. We have to live by them.”


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