By John Miller
Law enforcement and medics from around Taos County responded to a motorcycle crash that killed two people and injured five others others on State Road 38 near Red River Saturday (May 25), the third day of the annual Red River Motorycle Rally.
In an update Sunday evening (May 26), state police identified the two people killed as Lorenzo Cortez, 58, of Ranchos de Taos and Jennifer Lynn Ashley, 43, of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
An initial investigation indicates Cortez was driving a Harley Davidson west on State Road 38 near mile post 5 with Ashley as his passenger when, “for reasons unknown,” he crossed the center line into the path of three oncoming motorcycles.
Cortez crashed head-on with one of the motorcycles, and the two others also went down in the crash.
First responders arrived just after 6 p.m., according to the update. Cortez and Ashley both sustained fatal injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene. Five others were injured, four critically.
The five were driven by ambulance to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, where one was released and the four critically injured patients were flown by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque Saturday night.
“The [drivers’] and passengers’ names of the motorcycles traveling east on NM Highway 38 involved in the crash will not be released by State Police,” the update reads.
The investigation indicated that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
The crash marks the second consecutive year that a motorcyclist has died on the weekend of the popular rally. On the third day of the rally in 2018, Corey Gomez of Pueblo, Colorado crashed and died while fleeing law enforcement in Red River.
It was also not the first accident to be reported Saturday in Taos County, but according to law enforcement, it was the only one to include fatalities.
Around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, another report came in from Amalia, located near the Colorado border, with one person reporting a broken foot and another suffering from a broken arm and leg. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the injured had been riding motorcycles.