ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Family and friends – some weeping – gathered Friday to pay their last respects to Jose Ruiz, the 25-year-old bicyclist who was killed in a hit-and-run crash on N.M. 528 last Saturday.
They spoke of a fun-loving, outgoing young man who attended Del Norte High School and loved spending time with his extended family.
“He would always watch the kids for me,” said his older sister, Annabell Alarcon.
In the foyer at Riverside Funeral Home in Albuquerque, where the service was held, a TV showed pictures of a smiling Ruiz, surrounded by those he was close to. In one, Ruiz is blowing out candles on a birthday cake decorated with the number 25.
Police believe Cory Lucero, 21, an assistant soccer coach at Albuquerque Academy and full-time University of New Mexico student, hit Ruiz while he was allegedly impaired, and fled.
Lucero has been charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene.
Alarcon said her brother was on his mountain bike cycling home from his job at Octopus Car Wash. He had been living with Alarcon and her husband in Rio Rancho since their mother died last year.
Normally, she drove him to work, but, that day, he took his bike. When he didn’t come home, she tried calling her brother. When he didn’t answer, she said she had a “feeling.”
Alarcon said she first heard about the fatal accident via Facebook. She said police called her around 11 p.m.
Alarcon said she has donated another bicycle her brother owned to Duke City Wheelmen, the cycling advocacy organization that installs white-painted “ghost bike” descansos at the scene of crashes involving cyclists.
The organization’s president, Jennifer Buntz, said she hopes the bike will be ready to install at the site where Ruiz was killed near Coors Bypass and N.M. 528 in a couple of weeks.