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Tour de Palm Springs crash suspect had suspended license

Ronnie Huerta Jr. cited 3 times for speed

Tour de Palm Springs founder speaks...

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A Desert Hot Springs man currently facing charges in connection with a deadly collision during the Tour de Palm Springs was driving on a suspended license, according to the Associated Press. He also had several driving infractions, three of which included speeding, according to county records. 

Ronnie Huerta Jr., who is currently out on bail, was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed eastbound on Dillon Road in Indio Hills on the morning of Feb. 10 when he lost control of his vehicle and struck two cyclists involved in the race.

"Witnesses did place him (driver) at over 100 miles per hour and that information came from several of the bicyclists...In this situation, the roadway had a long line of bicyclists, so a driver should be able to see that they need to reduce their speed," said Sgt. Isaiah Kee with the CHP Indio office. 

According to the Riverside Press-Enterprise, Huerta's license was suspended on Dec. 4 for being a negligent vehicle operator and failures to appear in court. Huerta's driving record included violations for speed exceeding 55 MPH, failure to stop at a stop sign, and using a cell phone while driving. 

The victim, Mark Kristofferson of Washington State, passed away on Saturday and one other racer was injured. The second bicyclist's injuries do not appear to be life-threatening and she is in stable condition, Officer Mike Radford of the California Highway Patrol. 

This isn't the first time the 100-mile charity race has seen tragedy; in 2014, 55-year-old Lavone Koester was killed during the Thermal portion of the race when she was struck by a vehicle. 

 

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