Witnesses describe police pursuit before hit & run crash that killed teen

Local News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Newly released police body camera video is shedding light on the hit and run death of 15-year old Manny Tapia.

Tapia was killed in the middle of the Coors Boulevard and Ellison Drive intersection early Wednesday morning on July 17, 2019, after being hit by a vehicle. Albuquerque police believe a truck hit Tapia, then kept going as the teen crossed Coors after leaving a nearby movie theatre.

Body camera video shows witnesses who described seeing police chasing after a truck, then finding Tapia’s body in the middle of the road moments later. Officers on scene seemingly had no idea the two events were connected.

In the video provided by APD, one clip shows the perspective from a police officer’s lap as lights and sirens begin blaring. A radio dispatch voice can be heard asking, “Is it going to pull over or did it flee?” An officer responds, “Negative, it’s going at a high rate of speed, so we’re just going to call it quits, on the westside.”

Moments later, video shows officers arriving at Coors and Ellison, responding to calls of a body in the roadway.

“Right before we saw him, we did see a truck coming up here,” said a female witness.

“Yeah, that truck was just stolen,” a police officer responds.

The victim lying in the street was 15-year-old Cibola High School student Manny Tapia. Initially, no witnesses were able to describe who hit Tapia.

“All we saw is there was a truck racing through the red light, and a cop car following him,” said the same female witness. “And as we got here, we saw him laying.”

A witness tried to give Tapia CPR, but Tapia didn’t survive his injuries. As officers surveyed the scene, they also met two witnesses who saw Tapia crossing the street.

“He was just crossing the crosswalk,” said one male witness.

“I took one look at him and then all of the sudden, I just see this truck zoom by, after that, I didn’t see him at all, just his shoes on the ground,” said a second male witness.

What happened quickly weighed on the minds of officers on scene.

“To give you some peace of mind, bro, I didn’t see the truck clip anybody,” said an APD officer.

“I didn’t see **** either,” said another APD officer, in response.

“If the guy in the truck did clip him, he clipped him before we would ever notice or saw it, you know what I mean,” said an APD officer.

While no one has been charged with Tapia’s death so far, police have arrested a man suspected of driving a stolen truck matching the description of the truck seen hitting Tapia. Juan Carlos Ramirez is facing stolen vehicle charges. Ramirez has also been named a “person of interest” in an unnamed vehicular homicide case.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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