Police ID Eldorado man who died in early March wrong-way crash

Mar. 19—In the minutes before a fatal head-on crash outside of Santa Fe earlier this month, a man who noticed a wrong-way driver on U.S. 285 was flashing his high beams to try to warn oncoming traffic, police reports from the incident show.

Christopher Alyam-Moser, 71, of Eldorado was pronounced dead at the scene of the March 7 crash, according to reports released by New Mexico State Police in response to a records request.

State police responded to the crash around 7:30 p.m. Police determined Alyam-Moser was driving a Toyota RAV4 north in the inside southbound lane without headlights when he crashed head-on into a Volkswagen SUV driven by Matthew Paulazzo, 31, the crash report states. Police wrote it was "unknown" whether alcohol or drugs were a factor in the crash, citing "improper driving" by Alyam-Moser in the report.

Paulazzo was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he was treated for a broken ankle and wrist, a fractured pelvis, a dislocated rib and some internal bleeding, he said in a phone interview Tuesday. He has been released from his initial stay at the hospital, he said, but may still need surgery.

Paulazzo said he was beginning to recover and "doing OK, all things considered." He noted immediately before the impact he saw a driver in a northbound vehicle flashing its headlights.

"I did notice [the driver flashing his lights] before impact," Paulazzo said. "But I looked right back over and the car was right in front of me."

Friends or family members of Alyam-Moser could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Multiple people called 911 after the crash and told police what they had witnessed, including the man who said he was attempting to warn oncoming traffic.

In a handwritten statement included in the police report, the man wrote he was driving north on U.S. 285 when he noticed a driver heading in the same direction in the southbound lane without lights on.

"I was able to slow down and pull alongside him in an attempt to get his attention," the man wrote. "I was flashing my high-beams in an attempt to alert oncoming traffic in the southbound lane."

Three vehicles had swerved away from the RAV4 driver, the man wrote, but the fourth vehicle crashed into him head-on.

Paulazzo, who recently moved back to Santa Fe, said he plays as a professional drummer for rock bands and had been planning to leave for an upcoming three-month concert tour before the crash. Instead, he said, he will be resting and recovering for several months before he can play drums again.