2 dead, 17 injured after truck hits group of bicyclists in Goodyear; driver arrested
By Stephanie Bennett, Nicole Garcia, Lauren Clark, May Phan and Brent Corrado
Published February 25, 2023 9:47AM
Updated February 28, 2023 5:45PM
GOODYEAR, Ariz. - Two bicyclists are dead and 17 others were hurt after a pickup truck struck a group of bicyclists in Goodyear, police said.
The collision happened near MC-85 and Cotton Lane just before 8 a.m. on Feb. 25.
Nineteen people were injured and 11 of them were taken to three different hospitals in the Valley, with at least one of them in life-threatening condition. 61-year-old Karen Malisa, a retired middle school teacher and long time resident of Goodyear, died at the scene and, 65-year-old David Kero, a Michigan resident who was visiting for spring training, died at the hospital.
The truck driver, identified as 26-year-old Pedro Quintana-Lujan, was arrested on numerous charges, including two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault, 18 counts of endangerment, and 2 counts of causing serious injury or death by a moving violation.
He's being held on a $250,000 bond.
"There is no indication that this was an intentional act, or anything other than an isolated incident," police said Monday.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is asking for the police department to bring more information forward if they want charges to be brought against Quintana-Lujan.
"The deaths of the two cyclists and injuries suffered by others that morning is an unimaginable tragedy. The police need time to complete their investigation. It is critical before making any charging decision, and triggering legal time constraints, that a full investigation is completed and provided to prosecutors for review," county attorney Rachel Mitchell said on Feb. 28.
According to court documents, Quintana-Lujan told police he was driving in the left lane on the Cotton Lane Bridge when the truck's steering locked up and the vehicle started drifting to the right.
"When he heard a sound similar to metal, he let off the gas and regained steering control, then turned left and stopped in the middle of the bridge," court documents read.
Court documents state that reconstruction of the crash scene determined Quintana-Lujan "failed to maintain entering into the dedicated bike lane" and struck the concrete barrier separating the road from the sidewalk.
"Quintana's vehicle left dark black tire marks half way up the wall before coming back onto the roadway," court documents read. "There were no signs on scene of any evasive action taken after striking the Jersey barrier with no braking, tire marks, gouges, or skidding from the vehicle to show an attempt to avoid more hazards."
Police say bikes at the scene were broken in half and clothing was scattered throughout the road. Clothing was also found underneath the truck, as well as "bio-hazard from an unknown person that was run over."
During the inspection of the truck, police say the steering rack was intact, and "all bolts and nuts appeared to be secured and all major frame elements were intact with no damage."
"Quintana-Lujan submitted to a drug influence evaluation with clues present but unable to make a call regarding impairment," court documents read.
A blood test is also pending.
Quintana-Lujan told police he was driving to a job site in Chandler when the crash occurred. He allegedly admitted to smoking marijuana 11 hours before the crash.
The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office, Goodyear Fire, Avondale Fire, Buckeye Fire, Glendale Police, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office and Arizona Fire Medical responded to this scene.
"The Goodyear Police department is deeply saddened by this tragedy and extends condolences to the loved ones of the victims as well as to the cycling community and the community as a whole," said Lisa Berry with Goodyear PD.