A woman is behind bars after Albuquerque police say she struck and killed a man on East Central Wednesday afternoon before fleeing the scene.
Ramona Ortiz, 41, is charged with homicide by vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm or death in the collision that left Gilberto Mejia dead. Ortiz was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center on Wednesday night.
Before her arrest, Ortiz’s boyfriend told officers the two were racing each other home in separate vehicles “as a game” when the crash occurred. He said Ortiz, who court records show has been cited for speeding three times in the past year, drives “aggressive and unsafe.”
According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:
Officers responded to the hit-and-run crash around 2 p.m. at San Pablo and Central SE, and found 200 feet of skid marks that led to Mejia’s body in the median. Mejia, whose age was not provided, died at the scene.
Due to the length of the skid marks and after viewing surveillance footage of the crash, officers determined the driver – later identified as Ortiz – was speeding down Central when the crash occurred.
Police found the SUV involved outside a home near Valencia and Ross SE, where they interviewed Ortiz and her boyfriend. The boyfriend told police the couple had just left an ATM in two separate vehicles and agreed, over the phone, to “race home” – something they would often do “as a game in their relationship.”
The boyfriend said Ortiz arrived home visibly upset and told him she struck someone and left the scene.
Ortiz at first denied anything happened before “becoming very emotional” and, eventually, told police she had struck Mejia after he stepped off the sidewalk. Ortiz said she intended to return to the scene of the crash, although she couldn’t remember exactly where it was.
“I do not believe Ms. Ortiz had any intention of returning to the scene,” an officer wrote.