Family of pedestrian killed sues teen driver and family

Local News

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – He was walking to get popcorn on Thanksgiving night 2018. It was a trip that would cost Barnaby Matos his life. His family believes not enough has been done in this case, so they have filed a wrongful death lawsuit.

David Phillips takes a few deep breaths before he recalls one of his darkest days. “I was devastated,” said Phillips.

His partner, Barnaby Harry Matos, went out to pick up popcorn on Thanksgiving Day around 6:15 p.m. in Santa Fe near Cerrillos and Maclovia when a driver hit him.

The crash instantly killed Matos. Behind the wheel of that car, a 17-year-old teen without a license.

According to a police report, the teen told officers he looked away to change the music in his car and when he looked up he saw a “lump” in the road. When he realized it was actually a person, it was too late.

However, the police report states Matos was at fault for the crash, saying he failed to yield the right of way. Officers also noted how Matos wore dark clothes. Phillips said in the police report there were a lot of mistakes, like listing his last name as ‘Gambino.’

“[It’s] Matos, it’s on his birth certificate,” said Phillips.

Officers also noted Matos was riding a bike when the crash happened, even collecting evidence of a bike, but his partner said they don’t own a bicycle.

“Maybe a bike fell off during the accident,” said Phillips.

For Phillips, he said the wrongful death lawsuit isn’t about the money, it’s about accountability–either civil or criminal charges.

“I’m not trying to ruin two lives here, nobody is,” said Phillips. “But first of all, if I don’t have accountability for something that I do, what’s stopping me from doing it again and again and again?”

KRQE News 13 reached out to SFPD about the report. They said if there are inaccuracies, Phillips has to notify them so it’s in the record. We also reached out to the teen’s attorney for a comment, but haven’t heard back. KRQE News 13 also asked SFPD about the status of the investigation. They asked us to file a public information request.

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