A Sandoval County jail guard has been accused of hitting a bicyclist — whom he claimed he never saw — with his truck and leaving the scene.
Charles W. Stewart, 36, of Albuquerque, is charged with careless driving, not giving immediate notice of an accident and failure to render aid, all misdemeanors.
Sandoval County spokesman Sidney Hill said the county was aware of the charges and jail officials were investigating to determine what action to take. He said he couldn’t release any more information.
According to a Rio Rancho Police report, an officer was called to NM 528 and Riverside Drive about 6:20 a.m., before sunrise, Jan. 22. A New Mexico Department of Transportation employee said she drove up on the scene and a witness told her a motorist had hit a bicyclist.
Paramedics were helping the victim, a 50-year-old Albuquerque man.
The man said he was riding northbound when he was hit from behind and thrown off his bike. He didn’t see the vehicle that hit him, he said.
Paramedics took the man to the hospital with minor injuries.
The officer found the right headlight and side rearview mirror cover of a Dodge truck at the scene.
About 7:30 a.m., dispatch told the officer a Sandoval County Detention Center employee had reported that he might have hit something on NM 528 that morning.
When officers arrived at the jail, they spoke with Stewart and found his Dodge truck had damage consistent with the evidence at the crash site.
According to the report, Stewart told officers his foot slipped off the gas pedal on the way to work and the truck pulled to the right. As he tried to get back into his lane, he said, he heard a thump on the right side of his truck and thought he’d hit a sign.
Stewart told police he didn’t think anything of the incident and kept going. When he arrived at work, he said, he saw the damage to his truck and overheard coworkers talking about police and ambulance activity on NM 528.
He thought he might have hit something besides a sign, and reported it to his supervisor.
Officers conducted field sobriety tests without finding signs of impairment, but collected a blood sample for analysis.
Stewart posted bail and was released from the Rio Rancho Police Department.
When an officer contacted the witness, the man said he was driving northbound when he saw two vehicles in front of him brake at the same time and a bicycle fly up. Both vehicles drove away.
The witness pulled over and saw the cyclist lying on the ground. The Department of Transportation employee stopped, called police and stayed on scene.
The witness couldn’t describe the vehicles that left.
The cyclist was reportedly treated and released.