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Red River Memorial Motorcycle Rally crash kills two

May 28, 2019 GMT

RED RIVER — The 37th annual Red River Memorial Motorcycle Rally turned deadly over the weekend when, police say, one biker crossed the center line of N.M. 38 into the path of three other motorcycles.

Two people were killed and five injured — four of them critically — in the crash near Red River on Saturday, the third day of the rally.

New Mexico State Police identified the two people killed as Lorenzo Cortez, 58, of Ranchos de Taos and Jennifer Lynn Ashley, 43, of Colorado Springs, Colo.

The crash marks the second consecutive year that a motorcyclist has died during the popular Memorial Day weekend rally, which draws about 20,000 bikers each year. On the third day of the rally in 2018, Corey Gomez of Pueblo, Colo., crashed and died while fleeing law enforcement in Red River.

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According to state police, an initial investigation of Saturday’s crash indicated Cortez was driving a 2016 Harley-Davidson west on on N.M. 58 with with Ashley as his passenger when, “for reasons unknown,” he crossed the center line.

Cortez collided head-on into one of three oncoming, eastbound motorcycles, and the two others also went down.

First responders arrived just after 6 p.m., according to police. Cortez and Ashley were pronounced dead at the scene.

Five people injured in the crash were driven by ambulance to Holy Cross Hospital in Taos, where one was released and four critically injured patients were flown by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.

State police have not released the names of the people injured in the crash.

The investigation indicated that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, according to a news release from the agency.

This story first appeared on the website of The Taos News, a sister publication of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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