BISBEE — A man accused of crashing into a bicyclist and leaving the scene admitted to investigators that he did both, a probable cause report shows.
Noe Jesus Smith of Douglas is charged with manslaughter, leaving the scene of a fatal injury accident and aggravated assault.
The bicyclist who investigators said Smith rammed into on State Route 80 along the Lavender Pit on June 11 died two days later from his injuries, Bisbee Police said.
The victim, Sergio Lalli, was a local author and a beloved Bisbee fixture who could always be seen riding his bicycle around town, including treks around the Lavender Pit. The latter can be a dangerous stretch of road. There are no bike lanes and motorists often race around the sharp curves only to come up suddenly on a jogger or cyclist.
Lalli was heading east just before 1 p.m. the day of the hit-and-run crash along the outer lane. Police said Smith struck Lalli with his 2006 Pontiac and took off.
The probable cause report shows that Smith then abandoned his car at the Bisbee traffic circle and bolted from police on foot.
Bisbee Police’s probable cause report shows that Smith, who lives in Douglas, readily admitted he had struck Lalli and left the scene.
Investigators learned Smith’s identity after they were contacted by one of the suspect’s relatives, the report states.
While Smith admitted he had struck Lalli with his car, he later told investigators that the bicyclist had turned into his vehicle, the accident report shows. But a witness who was driving in the west lanes of SR 80 and who saw the impact told police that Lalli was riding in the lane close to the raised curb when he was hit.
A second witness who was driving east told investigators that a car matching Smith’s slid into his lane. The witness said he had to swerve into the other lane to avoid getting hit. The witness told police he saw the motorist strike the bicyclist with the right front end of his car, the report shows.
Last week, Smith, 23, was arraigned in Cochise County Superior Court Judge Laura Cardinal’s courtroom. He entered a plea of not guilty.
Joel Larson, the defense attorney who was handling cases for defendants appearing by video from the Cochise County Jail, had to excuse himself from entering Smith’s plea. Larson told Cardinal he is representing a suspect in a case in which Smith is one of the victims.
That matter, a murder, involves the beating death of a 2-year-old boy in Douglas in January 2020. The defendant accused in the killing is Mario Toscano Jr., 22.
Smith is the toddler’s biological father, his family members have confirmed.