Tragedy Hits Tour de Palm Springs Century Ride as speeding car crashes into Cyclists
A man was killed and a woman seriously injured after a car spun off the highway at over 100 mph
Ronnie R. Huerta Jr., 21, of Desert Hot Springs, is facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter after police say he crashed into Tour de Palm Springs cyclists, killing one and seriously injuring another. The driver was arrested shortly before 1 p.m. on Saturday and is being detained at the Riverside County Jail in Indio.
Witnesses told investigators the car, a 2006 Ford 500, was moving at least 100 mph along the Tour de Palm Springs route, near Indio Hills.
"Numerous Tour de Palm Springs cyclists were traveling eastbound on Dillon Road as the Ford came from behind and veered into the westbound lane and then went off the roadway onto the dirt shoulder where the driver lost control" CHP Sgt. Isaiah Kee said. "The sedan then veered back across the roadway into the eastbound lane and struck Kristofferson and Akers before hitting a berm and rolling over."
Sadly, cyclist Mark Kristofferson, 49, from Lake Stevens, Washington, was pronounced dead at the scene.
A second cyclist, Alyson Lee Akers, 50, of Huntington Beach, was airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs with major injuries and a laceration to her head.
"Several of the other cyclists told investigators the car was traveling at more than 100 mph," Kee added.
“There were so many participants that it was easy to see that there were bicyclists coming … not like you’re traveling down the road and all of a sudden encounter a few bicyclists,” he added.
Michael Stearns, a spokesman for the Tour de Palm Springs, said later Saturday that "the group was still collecting information and didn’t have enough details to comment on the crash."
The crash occurred as cyclists in the “tail end” of the 100-mile route of the event passed through the area, Kee said.
Beginning at 6:30 a.m., cyclists headed north out of downtown Palm Springs and gradually made their way to Worsley Road in North Palm Springs. From there, they turned east on Dillon and were supposed to make their way to Indio and then Thermal before returning west through other Coachella Valley cities.