SANDOVAL COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – Months after a driver, who deputies say was speeding, crashed into a group of motorcyclists and rolled her car, killing her own daughter, still hasn’t been charged.
August 6, 2016 started as a peaceful day for Albuquerque residents Jeremy and Lauren Wallaert, who were riding with a group of friends on State Road 22 near Lake Cochiti.
“Great day, it was beautiful outside,” Jeremy said. “Everybody was just in an extra good mood.”
But as the group rounded an S-curve, things took a sudden turn.
“I can just remember saying, ‘Oh God!'” Lauren said.
According to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office, 33-year-old MaryAnn O’Quinn was speeding around the curve, crossed into the oncoming motorcyclists’ lane and hit them. Then, her car rolled and everyone inside – O’Quinn and three teens- were ejected. One of the teens was her 15-year-old daughter, who died at the scene.
As O’Quinn’s car came careening toward Jeremy and Lauren on their bike, Jeremy recalls trying to maneuver out of the way before they both ended up in dirt, bleeding heavily.
“My foot was…severed immediately,” Lauren recalled, her voice shaking. The only thing that kept her leg together at the moment was her pants, she said. Lauren feared the worst — that she was dying and that she’d never see her daughter again.
The next thing she knows, Lauren is waking up in a hospital, unable to communicate with anyone around her. Her leg has been amputated. She doesn’t know where her husband is.
Jeremy was at another hospital. About half of his foot had to be amputated, too.
Now in a wheelchair, Jeremy has several rods protruding from his leg as it heals.
“It shattered it pretty bad,” he said.
“A piece of me is gone forever and I’m never going to get it back,” Lauren said. “My life will never be the same.”
Three months later and the Wallaerts want to know why O’Quinn hasn’t been held responsible for the crash and has not been charged for anything.
“How you can go through this much and have zero consequences for your actions. Where is the justice for her daughter? For us?” Lauren said.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the Sandoval County District Attorney, who said charges still haven’t been brought because the sheriff’s office needs to gather additional evidence, an answer that leaves the Wallaerts more frustrated.
“Poor investigation,” Jeremy said. “It’s just like nobody really cares about people that go down on motorcycles.”
The Wallaerts say since the crash, they haven’t received a single phone call about the case, or lack thereof.
“It’s unacceptable. Something needs to be done,” Lauren said.
Calls to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office went unreturned as of news time. KRQE News 13 will update this story if we hear back.
The Wallaerts have had a hard time finding normalcy since the crash, starting a GoFundMe page to help them as medical bills pile up.
They want what happened to them to serve as an example of why drivers need to be undistracted, follow the law and pay attention to motorcyclists on the road.
The couple says motorcycle accidents happen all too often in New Mexico, and that it needs to stop.