There’s “no indication” that an Arizona motorist intentionally drove his pickup into bicyclists near Phoenix, resulting in two deaths and one critical injury, police said Monday.
Pedro Quintana-Lujan’s white Ford F-250 was headed south on Cotton Lane Bridge, going over the Gila River, before he “stuck the barrier wall of the bridge and then the vehicle crashed into 20 cyclists,” Goodyear Police Chief Santiago Rodriguez told reporters.
Karen Malisa, a 61-year-old Goodyear resident was pronounced dead at the scene Saturday morning, police said. David Kero, a 65-year-old visitor from Michigan, later died at a hospital.
One of the 19 hit riders remained in critical condition Monday.
“There is no indication that this was an intentional act or anything other than an isolated incident,” Rodriguez said. Officials “don’t feel that there’s anything out there, like an act of terrorism or anything like that.”
Despite no initial signs of intent, the chief said he was confident a criminal case could be brought against Quintana-Lujan, a 26-year-old Phoenix resident.
He’s being held in lieu of $250,000 bail and is charged with two counts of manslaughter, three counts of aggravated assault, 18 counts of endangerment and two counts of causing serious injury or death by a moving violation.
A blood sample taken from the driver was still being evaluated on Monday. It was not clear Monday afternoon if the suspect had been assigned an attorney or hired one to speak on his behalf.
The crash happened just before 8 a.m. as riders with West Valley Cycle were on their regular Saturday journey, police said.
Bicycling is a particularly popular activity in Goodyear, Mayor Joe Pizzillo said.
“I offer our heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of those who were lost and injured in this horrific — and I emphasize horrific — incident,” Pizzillo said. “We have a tight-knit cycling community so this has deeply affected many across the West Valley.”