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Portales motorcyclist dies in hit and run

A Portales motorcycle driver died Friday after what law officers described as a hit and run with a pickup on U.S. 70 and South Roosevelt Road P.

Roosevelt County Sheriff Javier Sanchez said the motorcyclist was 24-year-old Taylor Gulley. Sanchez said the crash was reported to officials at 2:27 p.m.

Sanchez said there was a witness report of a “blue pickup” pulling a single-axle utility-style trailer near the scene. Officials said the vehicle traveled southbound on South Roosevelt Road P after the crash.

Gulley was taken to Roosevelt General Hospital where he died from his injuries, Sanchez said.

The sheriff said law officers were still looking for the driver of the suspect vehicle.

“No, we have not had any success in finding the suspect. We are still out looking, following the leads. We keep getting a bunch of tips and the guys are following up on tips, but nothing has panned out ... just yet,” Sanchez said.

Roosevelt’s Chief Deputy Sheriff Bryan Holmes said the Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with other agencies to help “reconstruct the crash” and get as much information as possible.

This marks the region’s fourth fatal vehicle crash in which a suspect left the scene since Christmas.

Billie Brazell, 83, died after her Toyota Corolla was hit by a Dodge Charger driven by Ezekiel Tarango near the intersection of 21st and Mitchell streets in Clovis on Dec. 25, police said. While Tarango is charged with homicide by vehicle, police believe a four-door silver pickup was racing with Tarango’s vehicle at the time of the crash. The driver of that pickup remained at large this week.

Police said Vince Galvan, 73, was found severely injured in the eastbound lane of West Seventh Street near West Street around 11:15 p.m. on May 6.

Witnesses said the vehicle involved in that crash – a dark Chevrolet SUV with under-frame lights – fled the scene, last seen heading north on Hull Street from Seventh Street.

First responders took Galvan to the Clovis hospital where he died. His walker was found nearby.

“Sorry, I wish I had more information on these cases, but there hasn’t been any new developments that I am able to share at this time,” Clovis Deputy Police Chief Trevor Thron said of the Brazell and Galvan cases.

Another fatal hit and run was that of Matthew Gibbs who was found near the intersection of 14th and Sycamore streets in Clovis on Dec. 29. Police allege Collin Guthals to be the driver of the vehicle that struck Gibbs.

Police tied Guthals to the crash using private security systems. Guthals said he knew he hit something, but he was unable to find what he hit that night. He was charged on Jan. 5 with leaving the scene of an accident, conspiracy to commit tampering with evidence and driving while license suspended or revoked.

District Attorney Quentin Ray said on Monday the max punishment for leaving the scene of a crash in which someone dies is a fourth-degree felony.

“Max penalty is 18 months in the department of corrections and/or a $5,000 fine,” Ray said.

Thron said it is “hard to normalize incidents like hit-and-run deaths, but I do think it’s too early in the year to say if this is an unusual pattern that we are seeing.”

“Typically with hit-and-run related traffic accidents, we find that the driver is typically under the influence of a drug or intoxicating liquor, or possibly wanted in reference to a crime,” Thron said.

Sanchez said there tends to be more vehicle accidents around the summer and holidays.

Family members of Gulley said he left behind a wife and three young boys. The family has started a GoFundMe page.

The Roosevelt County Sheriff’s Office asks anyone with information to call 575-356-4408 or Portales Dispatch at 575-356-4404.

“We hope that somebody out there knows who that blue vehicle belongs to and we’re just hoping they will come forward and tell us, because this deserves to be resolved,” Holmes said.

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