A Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s deputy died about 5 p.m., April 25 when he apparently lost control of his 2021 Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle and left the road.
Sandoval County Deputy Robert Strand was first law enforcement on the scene on State Road 14 near Sandia Park. He wrote in his report Emergency Medical Personnel were already there but told him Andy Gutierrez, 47, Chimayó, was “beyond saving.”
Strand wrote he found Gutierrez lying on the side of the road with a blanket medics had placed over him. He determined Gutierrez had struck two tree branches before landing on the shoulder.
The Harley Davidson was lying in the middle of the two lanes.
“(The motorcycle) had damage to the front fairing, forks, handle bars, front tire, right side skid protector, gas tank, exhaust, seat and rear tire,” Strand wrote.
Strand spoke to Gutierrez’s wife Ann Vargas (also identified as Ann Gutierrez) who had been following Gutierrez in her car.
“(Witness Vargas) said she observed (Gutierrez) travel off of the roadway, onto the dirt shoulder striking the dirt embankment,” Strand wrote. “She stated Gutierrez was thrown from the motorcycle striking the tree.”
After photographing the scene, Strand took measurements and interviewed witnesses. He determined Gutierrez was traveling north in State Road 14 when he left the road and was ejected.
The two-lane road was straight and dry where the accident occurred. Strand wrote the driver “had not consumed alcohol.”
“It is unknown at this time why “Gutierrez) traveled off of the roadway,” he wrote.
Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jason Benally performed an accident reconstruction of the scene and determined Gutierrez traveled 137 feet off the road before striking the dirt embankment. He said braking was being applied during that length of travel.
When the motorcycle struck the embankment both motorcycle and rider became airborne for 37 feet. The motorcycle crashed to the ground and Gutierrez struck the tree.
Benally determined the motorcycle was traveling 54 miles per hour before leaving the road. The posted speed limit is 50 mph, according to the report, but speed was not a contributing factor.
The Office of the Medical Investigators took control of Gutierrez’s body and transported it to their office in Albuquerque.
Rio Arriba County Sheriff James Lujan said, “He was a really good guy. He was a sweetheart. He was always there to help people. He never ignored anyone.”
Lujan said Andy Gutierrez was loved by his colleagues. He said every once in a while, he’d call his fellow deputies just to check on them.
“He was really good people,” Lujan said. “He’s going to be deeply missed. He is already deeply missed.”
Gutierrez’s obituary states he was in law enforcement for 25 years, including time with Pojoaque Tribal Police, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, Santa Clara Police and Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office.
Jennifer Garcia contributed to this story.Rio