Police charge woman in bicyclist's death


June 2, 2019

PORTALES — Police have filed petty misdemeanor charges for careless driving against the woman who struck and killed a bicyclist early last month on the highway outside Portales.

Kimberly Potters, 43, of Clovis, faces a penalty of “no more than 30 days in the detention facility and not more than a $300 fine,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Stover told The News on Friday. Stover said prosecutors directed state police to charge Potters with careless driving because “no evidence of a reckless act” could be found.

“The difference between the two is careless is when you are inattentive or imprudent; you are making a mistake,” Stover said. “in order to be reckless you have to have a wanton disregard for the safety of other people.”

Stover said that Potters was “very cooperative” with investigating New Mexico State Police officers and shared her cell phone with them — with “no evidence” of texting found.

Johann Astner, 46, was in the U.S. from his home country of Austria on a bicycle tour from coast to coast, roughly following the path of Route 66. He died on scene from the April 8 collision just a few miles outside Portales on U.S. 70. A group of local cyclists held a tribute ride in his honor later that month and established a “ghost bike” memorial near the site of the incident.

“Our sympathies are with the cyclist and his family over this tragedy,” Stover added.

Astner’s brother-in-law told The News in a message April 28 that his family was “shocked and deeply saddened by what happened” but “consoled by the fact that it happened while he did what he loved most: cycling in the land of his dreams.”

Potters waived her initial court appearance last week and entered a plea of not guilty, according to court records. Her attorney, Tye Harmon, was not available Friday to comment on the matter.


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