AP NEWS

Gonzales Community School fourth-grader dies in crash

February 24, 2019

A 9-year-boy was killed and his father critically injured Friday morning in a two-car crash on St. Francis Drive, just west of the Railyard, saddening a Santa Fe school community.

According to Santa Fe police, Jeremiah Archuletta, a fourth-grader at Gonzales Community School, was riding in his father’s sedan around 7:30 a.m. when it collided with an SUV at the intersection where St. Francis Drive meets Paseo de Peralta and Hickox Street.

First responders made efforts to save Jeremiah’s life en route to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, police said, but the child later succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.

“It’s quite a shocking and traumatic event,” Santa Fe Public Schools Superintendent Veronica García said. “And the school is currently right now trying to process what has happened.”

The households of every student in Jeremiah’s class at Gonzales had been notified of his death, García said, and counselors at the school worked with grieving students and staff .

Jeremiah’s father, Dominic Archuletta, was taken from Christus St. Vincent to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where he was in critical condition.

Social media sites filled with condolences and prayers for the Archuletta family.

Relatives could not be reached for comment. But a woman commented on social media that Dominic Archuletta was in surgery Friday and that Jeremiah’s mother, Nicole, was with him at the hospital.

“We will need to help this family in every way possible,” the woman said. “Donations are welcomed for Nicole and Dominic.”

The adult and child in the SUV also were hospitalized, police said, but their injuries were not life-threatening. Police did not release their identities.

Officials have provided few details of how the deadly collision occurred.

The northbound lanes of St. Francis were closed to traffic for hours as officers investigated the crash scene. Both vehicles sustained severe front-end damage and remained at the corner of St. Francis Drive and Paseo de Peralta until late Friday morning.

“This investigation will remain active as investigators determine the cause of the crash and if charges will be filed,” Greg Gurulé, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Police Department, said in a news release.

Gonzales Principal Candice Flint said in a statement Friday evening that “Jeremiah was a special young man. He and his family represent the best of Gonzales. Jeremiah’s classmates share that he was always making people laugh and that he had many friends.

“Jeremiah was a leader in his classroom and throughout the school,” she added.

Flint said Dominic Archuletta also is an important part of the Gonzales community. “Through his volunteering and coaching he makes an tremendous positive impact on our school,” she said.

“We will be supporting our students, families and staff in the coming days with counseling and grief support,” Flint said. “Throughout the week, we will offer a safe room space for students staffed by Gerard’s House and Santa Fe Public School counselors.

“We are still in the beginning stages of planning ways we will honor Jeremiah,” she said.

Friends and classmates of Jeremiah said in social media posts that the school was devastated. “Our whole school is sad,” said one Gonzales fourth-grader. “Everyone in my class was crying.”

“He was an Awesome Kid,” another classmate posted. “We Love and are going to miss you.”

In a Facebook post, a family member said anyone who would like to assist with financial donations for the Archulettas can take donations to Grace Community Church, 2247 Camino Carlos Rey, between 9 a.m. and noon.

After those hours, the woman said, a drop box for donations will be available. “Please put on the check on the ‘memo’ that it is for Jeremiah, Nicole & Dominic.”

Dillon Mullan of The New Mexican contributed to this report.