Medical investigator calls Shiprock man's death an accident

Steve Garrison The Daily Times
The Daily Times

FARMINGTON — A New Mexico medical investigator has ruled that a 21-year-old Shiprock man fatally struck by a vehicle in June died as a result of an accident.

Ryan Hill was found face down on the shoulder of Mesa Farm Road at 9:26 p.m. June 22 with blood around his head, according to an autopsy report obtained by The Daily Times.

The FBI is investigating Hill's death, and agents are seeking information about a red GMC or Chevrolet pickup truck seen by a witness shortly before Hill's death.

However, a medical investigator determined that Hill's death was not a homicide, but an accident.

The investigator notes in the autopsy report that Hill was known to run and do push ups on the side of road where his body was found.

Hill's injuries, including a crushed skull, fractured ribs and patterned injuries on his chest and lower neck, suggest he was run over while lying on the side of the road.

Blunt trauma was the cause of death, according to the report.

The autopsy report also notes the road was poorly lit, and Hill was dressed in dark athletic clothing and was wearing headphones when he died.

A toxicology report also notes Hill's blood tested positive for THC, the principal psychoactive in marijuana, suggesting that he was intoxicated at the time of his death.

FBI public affairs specialist Frank Fisher said Friday that agents are still looking for information about the truck and potential witnesses. Anyone with information can call the FBI's tip line at 505-889-1300.

Hill's family is also offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who provides information regarding the man's death. Hill's father, David Clah III, said the family would like to move on, but the questions surrounding his son's death are troubling.

"It would be nice if they could come forward and say: 'I'm sorry, I didn't see him,'" Clah said. "We can live with that."

Steve Garrison covers crime and courts for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4644 and Follow him on Twitter @SteveGarrisonDT on Twitter.