The holiday season has become a cruel time of year for Nancy Ruiz and her 6-year-old daughter Genesis.
Ruiz ‘husband and Genesis’ father, Mario Rascon, died a week ago when he was hit by a hit and run driver in Española in daylight.
“I thought of telling my daughter that her daddy is gone and works elsewhere. But I couldn’t, ”said Ruiz. “One day she will have questions. Right now I was saying to her, ‘Your daddy won’t be here anymore. He is with Jesus and watches over us. ‘ ”
Rascon, 34, lived with his family in the village of Oshara, Santa Fe. He got up early last Monday to find a job out of town for his New Mexico employer, Kelly Cable.
Rascon and a colleague arrived at a construction site on El Llano Road near Española Valley High School. They got out of their vehicle to begin the preparatory work. The company specializes in building fiber optic cable utilities.
It was early in the working day, just after 9 a.m., when Rascon went about his business. Immediately an unpredictable driver raced straight at him.
The 1998 red Ford pickup hit Rascon and killed, said Española Police Deputy Chief Jack Jones.
The driver had flown across the center line to the hard shoulder of the oncoming lane. Whoever was behind the wheel didn’t stop after meeting Rascon. He fled.
Rascon’s colleague happened to be a little further down, spared because he was in a safer place.
Jones said police found the two-door truck that was involved in the fatal accident after it was abandoned.
He also said detectives had a person of interest in Rascon’s death but declined to elaborate on it. Rascon relatives believe that the person of interest is the driver who is run over.
According to other reports reached by Rascon’s family, there were two passengers in the red truck. This would mean there are witnesses to the crime.
Rascon’s brother-in-law Joel Ruiz and the family’s liaison officer, said the detective leading the investigation hadn’t given the family much information. Joel called me for help.
I made a public record request to get the police reports and any other documents related to the crash that killed Rascon. The town clerk of Española said in an email that these records could not be made available immediately and may not be available until January.
According to Joel’s report, the police followed the red truck to an owner. It is unregistered and uninsured, he said. After Rascon died on the side of the road, the owner reported the truck as stolen, Joel said.
A natural family question is whether the truck was really stolen or was in the possession of someone connected to the owner.
“There’s a mix of emotions between being sad and angry,” said Joel.
He thought it important to tell me that his brother-in-law was a good man.
“He was a hard worker. He took care of his family. He wasn’t a drug user or drinker. “
Rascon’s wife, Nancy Ruiz, said she first saw him at a Mexican dance. She wanted to meet him, but shyness stopped her. She froze and said she had seen many attractive women talking to Rascon.
The night ended with a thought in her head.
“I wanted him to contact me so badly,” she said.
On Facebook, she soon received a friend request from someone who didn’t have a photo next to their profile. Nancy opened the person’s Facebook page and found lots of photos – pictures of Rascon. He found her name and decided to write to her.
“I think it’s fate how we got together,” she said.
They married on December 9, 2014.
Rascon is from Chihuahua, Mexico and had permanent resident status in the United States. Studying for his citizenship test, Nancy popped him with 100 possible questions.
She said Rascon had culinary skills. He had worked as a cook. The coronavirus pandemic has hurt many restaurants, but Rascon found other work.
Kelly Cable hired him as a worker on Oct. 18, said Donna Robinson, president of the company.
“According to my crew’s reports, he was a great worker. It’s a tragic story, ”said Robinson.
Services for Rascon will be Tuesday and Wednesday. His body is cremated.
Widow Nancy Ruiz, 27, has had a turbulent week looking after her child and saying little. Now she speaks.
“That should never have happened. I think I deserve some answers and so do my daughter. “
Nancy suspects the driver was drunk or would have stopped after beating her husband.
“I don’t think we’ll be at peace until we get to the bottom of this,” she said.
A long jail sentence for the driver is the result she wants. That way, she said, he can’t cause so much pain to anyone else.
Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact Milan Simonich at [email protected] or 505-986-3080.