BERNALILLO, N.M. (KRQE) – The family of a man killed during an apparent road rage incident is speaking out for the first time.
Richard Wall was just 45 years old, a father and stepfather to four, grandpa to one and a husband of almost 22 years.
“This is not something anyone should go through,” Crystal Bustos, his stepdaughter said. “It’s just hard to think that he’s gone and that he went in this way. It’s traumatizing for my whole family.”
Bustos and the rest of Wall’s family are picking up the pieces following his death in mid August.
It happened on Highway 550 near Santa Anna Road. Bernalillo Police say it appeared to be a road rage incident turned deadly, possibly after a vehicle abruptly cut across traffic.
Witnesses told police two men in separate vehicles pulled off the roadway and an altercation ensued. They say one of the men, later identified by police as 63-year-old Lonnie Snyder, struck Wall with what looked like a crowbar, then pushed him.
Wall fell into a nearby canal. Witnesses say Snyder shrugged his shoulders and left the scene. Wall died despite bystanders jumping in to help and rescue efforts by medical personnel.
Snyder was arrested at his home later that night after Bernalillo PD tracked him down.
“This happened to a family man who was a huge, huge staple in our life,” Bustos said. She described her stepdad as a reserved guy, someone who devoted nearly every second of his time to his family.
Bustsos says it’s been difficult moving forward following the bizarre tragedy. Snyder is already out of jail, charged with an open count of murder. The Sandoval County District Court judge granted Snyder permission to drive to and from Santa Fe every day for his job.
The judge set Snyder’s trial date for February of 2018.
“It just feels like another slap on the wrist, we see it happen all the time here,” Bustos said.
Bustos says her family already feels failed by the justice system, and is frustrated.
“He’s not going to feel what my mom has gone through every single day since this happened,” she said.
Bustsos says while her dad’s case can’t compare to the shooting death of 4-year-old Lilly Garcia last year in Albuquerque, the two shared a common theme: road rage. She said it’s a growing problem in our state and in our country.
“It shouldn’t have happened,” she said.
Previously, Bernalillo Police Chief Tom Romero said Wall’s death appears to be the first case of road rage that lead to a death in Bernalillo.