Trial set for suspect in fatal River of Lights hit-and-run crash

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The man accused of fatally hitting a 7-year-old boy and injuring his father near River of Lights, while allegedly drunk, has a trial date set.

Sergio Almanza will go on trial beginning August 21. Judge Brett Loveless will preside over the case, as Almanza faces charges of:

  • Homicide by vehicle, while under the influence (reckless driving)
  • Great bodily harm by vehicle, while under the influence (reckless driving)
  • Knowingly leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in great bodily harm or death
  • Two counts of tampering with evidence
  • Driving an off-highway motor vehicle on a paved street or highway

Almanza allegedly ran a red light while driving an off-road vehicle drunk in December 2021, right as 7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya and his father were walking in the crosswalk at Tingley and Central. Pronoy was killed while his father was injured.

Albuquerque police and federal authorities sought Almanza for nearly two months. Then, on January 31, the U.S. Marshals Service said Almanza surrendered to them in southwest New Mexico.

Almanza pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance in February but waived his right to a detention hearing. Then in March, under the guidance of new attorneys, Almanza requested pretrial release to see his kids, but a judge denied that.