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Suspect Nabbed In 1993 Hit-and-Run Death of U.S. National Cycling Champ

August 2, 1996 GMT

DALLAS (AP) _ A man captured in Mexico after nearly three years on the run faces an involuntary manslaughter charge in the death of Mary Jane Reoch, a national cycling champion struck and killed by a speeding pickup while training.

Texas Attorney General Dan Morales on Friday announced the capture of Mario Nambo Lara, 21, in connection with the September 1993 mishap.

Reoch, an 11-time U.S. Cycling Federation national champion, was giving a student a training ride at White Rock Lake when a truck crossed into her lane. She was hit head-on and thrown 95 feet into the lake.

Dallas police said the pickup’s driver was traveling at high speed, lost control, traveled on the wrong side of the road and hit the cyclist.

Authorities said they believe Lara, who is in custody and awaiting trial in Mexico, fled to his homeland after the incident. Texas officials believe Lara was intoxicated at the time of the accident, Morales said.

Lara was apprehended in late July in the state of Michoacan, where he was presented before a district judge and charged with involuntary manslaughter, Morales said.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, assisted by the Texas Attorney General’s International Prosecution team, presented the case to the Mexican Attorney General’s Office in April 1995.

Under a provision in the Mexican Penal Code, U.S. prosecutors are allowed to present evidence to Mexican officials when Mexican nationals are suspected of committing crimes in the United States, but are believed to have fled to Mexico to escape prosecution.

``At this point it is essentially their case,″ said Sonya Sanchez, a Morales spokeswoman. ``The only thing we do is present them the evidence, and we let them know a location where we believe the suspect could be hiding and they take it from there.″

Lara will be tried in Mexico, and if convicted, will be punished there, she said.

Reoch was national road champion in 1971 and held the U.S. 3,000-meter individual pursuit title from 1973 to 1975 and in 1978. In 1975, she was the individual time trial champ.

She began work as a racing coach in 1977 and coached Connie Carpenter to a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Reoch’s sister, Chari Briggs Kernis of Rochester, N.Y., said Friday that she was delighted to learn of Lara’s capture.

``I figured the only hope was if he ever came back to the United States,″ she said. ``It’s not quite three years, and it was a travesty that a person like this should be able to basically kill another human being without stopping.″