Pedro Quintana-Lujan, 26, the driver responsible behind a horrific crash in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday morning that killed two bicyclists and seriously injured several others, has been arrested and is facing multiple charges.
According to police, the accident occurred around 8 a.m., when Quintana-Lujan drove his pickup truck with attached trailer into a group of 20 cyclists after first colliding with a barrier wall. Quintana-Lujan remained in the scene following the crash. Karen Malisa, 61, of Goodyear, AZ and David Kero , 65, of Michigan died from their injuries. As of Feb 27, at least eight other cyclists remain hospitalized for their injuries.
Quintana-Lujian is reportedly facing two charges for manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault, 18 counts of endangerment and two counts of causing serious injury or death by a moving violation.
During a press conference, Goodyear Police Chief Santiago Rodriquez stated Quintana-Lujan claimed his steering wheel locked just before the accident, with no indication that the collision was intentional, according to ABC News.
Quintana-Lujan is scheduled to appear in Superior Court for his first hearing on March 3. A toxicology blood screen has been ordered, however, results are pending. Quintana-Lujan reportedly told police officers he had smoked marijuana the evening prior to the crash.
The accident has deeply shaken the close cycling community of Goodyear. According to Arizona Family, Brandon van Leuven, owner of Trek Bicycle West Phoenix where one of the victims of the crash works, is concerned that the lack of safety for cyclists will prevent people from biking.
“He’s seriously injured. He’s not going to be back for a long time,” van Leuven said, “These people’s lives will never be the same again, even the ones that are going to come back to us and keep riding with us.”
Despite state law that gives cyclists the same rights to road access as motor vehicles, cycling accidents are common in AZ, which hosts more than 30 bicycling events annually.
According to data compiled by the National Highway Safety Patrol Administration (NHSPA), 30 AZ cyclists were killed in accidents in 2019.
In an effort to teach bike safety and reduce incidents, the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG) launched See Me AZ in 2020.
The initiative includes crash statistics for pedestrians and cyclists as well as safety ad campaigns designed to raise awareness on how both vehicle owners and cyclists can safely share the roads. The site also includes safety tip sheets in both English and Spanish that visitors can download and distribute.