ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – People in one westside Albuquerque neighborhood are pleading with the city to fix what they say is a dangerous stretch of road. Just last week, a 13-year-old boy was killed while riding his dirt bike. While it’s unclear what the cause of that crash is, neighbors said it brings the areas’ problems to light.
“He was such a funny guy, he would make my day every day,” said a friend of Armando, Evelyn. Candles, flowers, handwritten signs, and pictures are part of a makeshift memorial for 13-year-old Armando Parra, Jr. His family calls him ‘Junior.’ “I just loved him,” said Jeremy, a friend of Armando.
On Friday, he was involved in a crash on Universe and Ventana Hills on the westside. He died two days later. “He was such a good kid, he had a big heart,” said Armando’s cousin, Deeanna Lugo.
Police said it happened around 7 p.m. that night. They said he wasn’t wearing a helmet when he was riding a dirt bike on Universe heading southbound when a car going north on Universe was making a left turn onto Ventana Hills and they crashed. The car hit the rear of the dirt bike. Right now, police said there is no indication they were speeding.
“My heart shatters for that family,” said Annette Trujillo who lives nearby. However, neighbors said the crash highlights just how dangerous the area is. “The road is 35 miles per hour here and nobody goes that speed limit,” said Brenda Madrid who lives close by. “Everybody is always racing, speeding, they don’t mind other drivers.”
A few months ago, KRQE News 13 covered a crash in the same area, and even back then, neighbors were demanding the city to do something to fix it whether it be a roundabout or traffic signals. “We now have two fatalities on this road and I’m not sure what that statistic needs to be in order to qualify for a stop sign or something to be done down this road,” said a neighbor who wants to remain unnamed.
Now, it looks like something could finally be done. The city says they worked with the neighborhood association and proposed installing flashing signs in the area to alert drivers that they are approaching a four-way intersection. Once the neighborhood association agrees on the plans, the city said they could have the flashing signs installed by the end of the year.
Neighbors said they plan on holding up signs Saturday morning along Universe to encourage drivers to slow down. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Armando’s family with the funeral costs. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article stated that the crash happened around 10 p.m. Armando’s family said the crash happened closer to 7 p.m.