OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Sergio Almanza was found guilty this morning of homicide by vehicle, great bodily harm by vehicle, knowingly leaving the scene of an accident, two counts of tampering with evidence and driving an off-highway motor vehicle on a paved street or highway. Almanza faces 30 and ½ years in prison, sentencing will take place within 90 days.
On December 12, 2021, the Bhattacharya family attended the River of Lights festival at the City of Albuquerque’s Botanical Gardens. As they were exiting the event the family abided by the stoplight signals and crossed the street to return to their vehicle. Pronoy and his father were abruptly struck by a vehicle where Pronoy suffered from his injuries which resulted in his death. Almanza fled the scene where in the next several days he dismantled the off-road vehicle used in the incident. Almanza continued his illegal activity by retreating to Mexico to avoid arrest. Two months after the incident Almanza was arrested and charged.
Deputy Attorney Greer Staley delivered closing arguments for the state and reminded jurors that “Pronoy was thrown 72.74 feet in the air, he landed on the ground and slid to come to rest 178 feet from where the defendant hit him.” The state also presented evidence that the crash occurred after Almanza and his friends spent an evening drinking at a local restaurant and that their table ordered a large amount of alcoholic drinks that evening.
“Pronoy’s tragic death devastated his family and shook our community to its core,” said Attorney General Raul Torrez. “His death is a stark reminder of just how fragile life can be. We owe it to him to continue the important work of eliminating drunk driving in New Mexico and holding people like Sergio Almanza accountable for their actions. While we will never get Pronoy back I hope his family feels a sense of justice with today’s verdict. I transferred this case over from the District Attorney’s Office as I wanted the original team of prosecutors to remain with the case and see their dedication and commitment to this case through.”
The case was prosecuted by Deputy Attorneys General Greer Staley, and John Duran in the Special Prosecutions Division.