ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Police says a motorcyclist died after speeding, losing control and hitting a wall on I-40 Friday morning near the the Second Street exit.
But a driver who says she was nearly hit in the moments before the crash believes another driver may have helped cause it.
The crash took place around 10:30 a.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-40, just before the Second Street exit. Police say the motorcycle hit the eastbound barrier, throwing cyclist into the westbound lanes of traffic, causing another crash.
The cyclist hasn’t been identified. Police say the person was wearing a helmet, but died at the scene.
The crash forced a closure of both sides of the freeway for a short time while police investigated. The freeway reopened shortly before noon.
Before the crash, Lynda Griego was one of hundreds of drivers on I-40 eastbound. Running errands, Griego says she got on the freeway at Rio Grande Boulevard, intending to make a short trip up the road to the 12th Street exit. Shortly before the exit, Griego said she heard the loud sound of a motorcycle coming up from behind her car.
“I knew it had to be going really really fast and they just passed me in an instant,” said Griego. “I never heard a sound like that coming from (a motorcycle) before.”
Griego says the motorcycle seemed as if it nearly hit her car.
“They were in the lane next to me, if I had gotten over one lane to merge on to the freeway, it would have been the end of me,” said Griego.
While Albuquerque Police has not said if any other vehicles may have played a role in the crash, Griego believes there was one.
“There was another vehicle right behind (the motorcycle),” said Griego. “They had just converged in that same lane together, but there was a four-door car that was right on him.”
Griego says it was a dark colored, four-door car following closely behind the motorcyclist, but she says she couldn’t tell if the car was chasing the bike, road rage, racing or something else.
“It wasn’t just you know a casual person driving behind him, he was after him and he was very close to the motorcycle, the back end of the motorcycle,” said Griego.
Griego says what she saw compelled her to call 911.
“That car was so close to the motorcycle, they were in an exit lane and I knew when I got off (the freeway exit) that they were going to kill somebody,” said Griego.
By the time Griego reached a dispatcher, she says she had already exited the freeway and arrived in the parking lot of the Walgreen’s along 12th Street. She says the dispatcher told her that a crash just occurred further east on I-40.
“It’s just completely unnecessary,” said Griego.
Griego says she now hopes other drivers who saw what happened will speak up.
“There’s only going to be one side of the story told since (the motorcyclist) is no longer here to say what happened, and the other person needs to take responsibility for the role they played in that accident,” said Griego.
KRQE News 13 attempted to contact an Albuquerque Police spokesman Friday afternoon to ask more questions about the crash, but did not receive a response.