Family asks for improvements to deadly intersection in NW Albuquerque
April 18, 2019 10:19 PM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Kayden and Jakob Montoya were killed last Thanksgiving after Albuquerque police say a man driving well over 100 mph hit them in northwest Albuquerque.
The victims' families say something has to be done about the intersection at Universe and Irving so another family won't have to suffer.
“Waking up every day is still hard, coming home and Kayden not being here is hard,” said Athena Lopez, Kayden’s girlfriend.
Athena Lopez and her 7-year-old son are missing their loved one and that laugh that brought so much comfort.
It's been 5 months since Kaydon and his cousin Jakob drove through the Universe and Irving intersection.
Police say they were killed when Dominic Martinez hit them — reportedly going more than 100 mph when the speed limit is only 35 mph in that residential zone.
“We're doing as best as we can but I spend a lot of time wondering if the driver of the other vehicle sleeps because I don't,” Lopez said.
Lopez wants a change so other families don't feel her pain.
She requested, at the very least, a green arrow at the intersection to slow down drivers. However, a city spokesperson says any change at that intersection wouldn't have prevented the Montoya’s' deaths.
“When you have a driver that goes twice the posted speed limit, in an urban area, that is a recipe for disaster,” said Johnny Chandler, with the City of Albuquerque. “That is why that accident occurs and that's why that family is devastated right now. The minute, that once we add that turn arrow we are adding time to everybody's commute which is not necessarily a negative thing. But are we getting any added benefit?"
Lopez thinks so.
“Would you have them be frustrated because they are waiting another minute and a half or because another family died and now they have to deal with that,” she said. “What's two minutes if it saves somebody's life?"
“We found the number of accidents there were,” Chandler said. “We found the timing of the vehicles and the movement in vehicles depending on what time of the day it is, like how much time does that vehicle, turning left, have in between the vehicles that are driving up the street. What we found is that it doesn’t work for a left-hand signal at this time.”
Federal guidelines for a left turn arrow call for four crashes in a year. At Irving and Universe, so far there have been six crashes in three years.
Lopez says New Mexico is going to lose in that numbers game.
“Isn't one enough, how many do there need to be?” she said. “There were two deaths in this. One death is one too many and if that doesn't spark change I don't know what will. You want a safer city? Force accountability, that's where we’re at right now. People don't change unless they are forced to."
The city says as the West Side continues to grow, they may look into adding it another time, but the changes they made in 2015 are enough and it is safe.
“You go the speed limit, stay off your phone, you follow the rules of the road, that is how everyone gets home to their families OK at night,” Chandler said.
The District Attorney's Office tells us that a grand jury has been set and they are in contact with both families.
Updated: April 18, 2019 10:19 PM
Created: April 18, 2019 08:06 PM
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