Desert Hot Springs man posts bail after deadly Tour de Palm Springs crash

Collision killed Washington state man

Tour de Palm Springs bicyclist killed KDFX 10PM

INDIO HILLS, Calif. - A local man was out of jail Monday morning following a deadly collision involving two cyclists riding in the Tour de Palm Springs Saturday morning. 

Ronnie R. Huerta Jr., 21, of Desert Hot Springs, was arrested and booked into the Riverside County Jail in Indio, said the California Highway Patrol. He faces a charge of vehicular manslaughter.

Huerta Jr. posted $75,000 bail Sunday and was released from custody. He was expected to be back in court in April.

According to a news release from the CHP, Huerta Jr. was driving a 2006 Ford 500 at 9:20 a.m. at a high rate of speed. As he headed eastbound on Dillon Road, west of 30th Avenue in Indio Hills, he reportedly lost control.

The document alleges Huerta Jr. veered to his left, crossed the lane and drove onto the gravel shoulder. He then allegedly over-corrected and crossed the roadway again and struck two bicyclists participating 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. 

The CHP said 49-year-old Mark Kristofferson, of Lake Stevens, Washington, died at the scene. 50-year-old Alyson Lee Akers, of Huntington Beach, was airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center with major injuries and lacerations to the head. Huerta Jr. suffered moderate injuries and was treated at Desert Regional Medical Center.

The crash happened during the 100-mile, Escape the City Lights Ride, which began at 6:30 a.m. 

The collision was still under investigation.

In 2014 a 55-year-old woman was hit and killed by a truck while racing in the 100-mile ride.

Some cyclists we spoke to say they want to see better safety measures on the course. 

"There needs to be more police or security around to guide people through," said Elaine Thayer, a participant from Tustin, CA.

But other cyclists are satisfied with the traffic control. 

"There's police all over the place. They're stopping traffic. I think it's just part of the sport. If you're going to have cars and bikes sharing the road, something is going to happen," Peter Radovich, from Pomona, said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Officer D. Thomas at 760-772-5300.

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