tour de palm springs
Photo: Tour de Palm Springs

The CHP Sunday publicly named the 21-year-old man who barreled his car at 100 miles per hour into several Tour de Palm Springs cyclists, killing one of them.

Ronnie R. Huerta Jr. of Desert Hot Springs was arrested at 12:53 p.m. Saturday and booked into the Indio Jail for suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, according to jail records.

The crash was reported at 9:25 a.m. Saturday on Dillon Road near 30th Street in Indio Hills, a desert community about 10 miles north of Indio, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Initial reports suggest Huerta was traveling east at about 100 mph in a 2006 Ford 500 sedan when he lost control and began swerving across the roadway. The car struck two cyclists before hitting a berm and rolling over.

The posted speed limit on Dillon Road is 50 mph, and the road is used by the Tour de Palm Springs, a charity cycling event that had begun earlier that morning at 6:30 a.m.

Mark Kristofferson, 54, of Lake Stevens, Washington was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Jody Hagemann of the Riverside County Fire Department and the coroner’s office.

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, the CHP said.

Huerta was treated at Desert Regional for moderate injuries before being arrested.

He remained jailed Sunday in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Authorities were still investigating whether Huerta was under the influence of drugs or alcohol during the crash.

The crash scene was located near mile 32 of the 100-mile route, which makes its way north from downtown Palm Springs, then southeast through the Coachella Valley and loops back to Palm Springs.

–City News Service

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