A well-known couple who owned the Gila Hike and Bike shop in downtown Silver City died in a vehicle crash in Luna County over the weekend.
New Mexico State Police identified Martyn Pearson, 38, and Alexandra Olsen, 40, as the two victims in a crash that occurred about 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, on state Highway 26 northeast of Deming.
Police said the two were passengers in a Toyota Tacoma driven by a 15-year-old male in the eastbound lane when the vehicle drifted across the center line and struck a Dodge pickup truck head-on. The car’s driver as well as a 70-year-old man driving the pickup truck sustained injuries but were expected to survive. Pearson and Olsen, however, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Investigators said alcohol did not appear to be a factor in the crash, and that everyone involved had been wearing seatbelts properly. New Mexico State Police continued to investigate the incident Monday.
The Gila Hike and Bike Shop announced it would close until further notice. The crash occurred one month to the day since the store had reported a break-in, requiring them to close for two days.
Pearson was the race director of the Signal Peak Challenge, a cross-country mountain bike race, and was also a musician. Olsen coached a swim team and taught a culinary arts elective at the Aldo Leopold Charter School.
State Sen. Siah Correa Hemphill, a close friend of the couple, said the pair met when Olsen was on a cross-country bicycle tour and Pearson performed some maintenance on her bike. “She took a liking to Martyn, got his number and was hoping that the repairs that he had done might not hold and she’d have a reason to reach back out,” she said. Ultimately, Olsen moved from the East Coast to Silver City permanently about seven years ago so the pair could be together.
Pearson had two teenage children through a previous marriage, and Correa Hemphill said the three adults presented “a beautiful example of how to co-parent in the most supportive way.”
“What’s beautiful about Aldo Leopold Charter School and our community in Silver City is, it is a family,” she continued, “and we are all going to just circle those kids with all the love and support that we have and make sure that they continue to have the same quality of life that they had with Alex and Martyn.”
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Algernon D’Ammassa can be reached at 575-541-5451, email@example.com or @AlgernonWrites on Twitter.