A Los Chavez man suspected in a the hit-and-run death of a 7-year-old Albuquerque boy surrendered to U.S. Marshals earlier today, Monday, Jan. 31.
Sergio Almanza, 27, is charged with homicide by vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident causing death and tampering with evidence.
Almanza is believed to have been drinking at a Nob Hill bar in mid December shortly before running a red light in an off-road vehicle and fatally striking Pronoy Bhattacharya, 7, who was leaving the River of Lights with his family.
On Sunday, Dec. 12, Bhattacharya was with his family using a crosswalk at Central Avenue and Tingley Drrive S.W. after attending the River of Lights show at the Albuquerque BioPark.
Albuquerque Police Department investigators determined Almanza was driving an illegal off-road vehicle along Central Avenue as he sped through a red light and struck Bhattacharya and his father.
The driver fled west on Central, and Bhattacharya, who was a second-grader at Georgia O’Keeffe Elementary School in Albuquerque, was pronounced dead at the scene. His father was hospitalized with facial fractures.
An arrest warrant was issued for Almanza, and served at his home in Los Chavez less than a week after the deadly hit and run, but Almanza had fled the area.
According to a press release from the Albuquerque FBI Office sent on behalf of the U.S. Marshals Service, the fugitive apprehension case of Almanza was recently turned over to the Marshals Service.
“This arrest is the result of a lot of teamwork — within APD, and with our partners at the U.S. Marshals Service, the District Attorney’s Office,” APD Chief Harold Medina said according to the release. “I promised Pronoy’s parents we would do everything possible to bring this suspect to justice.”
Sonya K. Chavez, U.S. Marshal for the District of New Mexico said taking Almanza into custody was a “testament to great teamwork with all our partners and our hope is that it will give the victim’s family a sense of peace. Sadly, nothing will ever bring their son back, but our hope is that they will find some comfort.”
Almanza’s arrest is the result of joint efforts involving the USMS-SWIFT, including the Albuquerque Police Department, Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office, the New Mexico State Police, New Mexico Department of Corrections-Probation and Parole and the United States Marshals Service, according to the press release.
Crime Stoppers also played a pivotal role, by generating tips from the public that enabled investigators to identify Almanza as the suspect.
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