SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Arizona bike race over the weekend turned terrifying after a driver plowed through a group of cyclists. At least two New Mexicans were there and one of them is now hospitalized. Santa Fe resident, Tony Quinones, planned on a beautiful morning of cycling in Show Low, Arizona when he joined the Bike the Bluff race over the weekend.
“I noticed the guy next to me had a ZiaVelo and I recognized that from New Mexico,” said Quinones who noticed he had a fellow New Mexican joining the race. “I said, ‘Hey, you know, where are you from?’ and he said, ‘Las Cruces. My name’s Longino.'”
Minutes later, the event took a terrifying turn. Quinones, who says he was riding for fun and not to medal, had dropped back to let some of the other cyclists go ahead. Shortly after, around 7:25 a.m., he noticed a black pickup truck heading toward the cyclists.
“I’m watching it as I’m descending down into this hill, on this hill and watching and hearing the accelerator,” said Quinones. “It was a pickup truck and he had the loud muffler so I could hear him accelerating into the group.”
Police say the driver of the truck was driving in the wrong direction, crossed several lanes of traffic, and plowed right into a group of cyclists. The crash left at least six in critical condition.
“As I look to my right and I see bodies are flying, you know, on the hood, to the left, to the right,” said Quinones. “I call 911 and as I’m looking I see the black pickup truck. As I look up, 911 picks up, I see a couple of guys beating on the windows saying, ‘get out of the car, get out of the truck, get out of the truck,’ and then he’s spinning his back tires.”
One of those riders hit was the fellow New Mexican Quinones met at the beginning of the race. He says he immediately noticed the Las Cruces man had a compound fracture in his arm and his head was bleeding.
“I’m standing over him, just saying, ‘Longino, man, keep breathing keep breathing, help is on its way,'” recalled Quinones. “I mean, it’s surreal.”
The driver flipped a U-turn and took off from the scene. Quinones says he told 911 and a nearby officer went into pursuit.
“At the point where the cyclists were struck, the suspect fled the area in the same vehicle,” said Kristine Sleighter with the Show Low Police Department. “He was pursued by officers and in the process of that pursuit, he was shot.”
Police have identified the driver as 35-year-old Shawn Michael Chock. According to the Arizona Department of Corrections, Chock has a history of aggravated DWI, but it’s unclear if that’s the cause of this crash. He’s currently in the hospital in stable condition. Quinones says he’s still shocked over what happened.
“Usually accidents are someone hits you from behind. You’re not used to seeing it real time happening right in front of you,” said Quinones. “We share the road. Pay attention to us. We pay our taxes for the roads to use them just as much as a vehicle.”
He hopes the community can come together and support the victims on their long road to recovery. A GoFundMe has been created to raise funds for the victims and their families.
Quinones says this isn’t his first brush with a cycling tragedy. A few years ago, his brother was hit and killed while on his bike. He hopes drivers will take this horrible situation as a reminder to be more careful on the roads.