ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - An Albuquerque man with ties to New Mexico's boxing scene is dead after a crash on I-25 and while friends are remembering the man, deputies say the death could have been prevented.
Deputies say 29-year old Derrick Casaus was killed on Saturday night around 10:30 when he was hit by a truck while trying to cross I-25 near the Tramway Boulevard exit. The incident has caught many off guard including friends and deputies.
“He was a good guy, he really was,” said Chris Chavez, a friend of Casaus’.
"Worst case scenario there may have been an arrest made out of it,” said Sgt. Aaron Williamson, a spokesman for the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies say Casaus shouldn't have been on I-25, but rather a half mile to the east at the intersection of Rainbow Road and Tramway Boulevard. Deputies say that’s where a crash was originally reported.
“We got a call that there was a vehicle traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Tramway approaching Rainbow,” said Sgt. Williamson.
Deputies say Casaus was driving that car which was involved in a minor crash in the intersection. However, instead of staying on scene, deputies say witnesses saw Casaus drive off then park the car behind a gas station near the Sandia Casino.
"Two individuals got out of the truck and they had seen them fleeing westbound,” said Sgt. Williamson
Deputies say Casaus and another man got out of their car and ran through the field and tried to cross I-25.
Casaus was hit by a truck and died shortly after. As of Sunday, the passenger was still missing.
“They're hoping to talk to the passenger to try to get a better understanding of what exactly took place last night,” said Sgt. Williamson.
Casaus is a local boxer who once trained with Team Tapia Boxing Academy.
“He had did his pro-debut with us probably two years ago,” sais Chavez, head trainer with Team Tapia.
They remember him as a strong fighter.
“He was a really hard worker, he was supposed to be back in the gym with us, but he said he was working and he really didn't have the time,” said Chavez.
As friends mourn, deputies are looking for answers.
“Had both individuals just stayed on the scene … It definitely wouldn't have risen to a point that somebody had to needlessly lose their life by trying to cross a busy interstate,” said Sgt. Williamson.
Deputies the second person who ran from Casaus' isn't facing any charges at this point, nor is the driver of truck that hit Casaus. BCSO says the car Casaus was driving was not stolen and they’re still looking into whether or not alcohol played a role in the crash.
Manners matter especially during the holiday season.
You've heard us talk a lot about Toys for Tots and how you can help needy kids in Albuquerque this Christmas.
The final Toys for Tots collections have been made and the generosity of folks around Albuquerque has been great as always.