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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Drunk driver kills Venezuelan athlete during half-marathon in Costa Rica

A drunk driver in San José killed a Venezuelan runner who was participating in the San José Half Marathon early Sunday morning, authorities reported.

Race organizers said the accident took place in Zapote, east of San José, and that the victim, David Yáñez Pacheco had reached the 15-kilometer market of the 21-kilometer race, which crosses the capital city. The driver ignored the race security measures and went around the security barrier before hitting the runner, Traffic Police officers confirmed.

The driver tried to flee the scene, but police officers caught up with him less than a kilometer away.

Columbia Deportiva shared a Facebook post Monday morning indicating that the suspect has been released while the case against him is processed.

The daily La Nación reported that Yáñez had been living in Costa Rica for five months and is one of several Venezuelan runners who have moved here recently in search of better economic conditions. He was aiming for at least a second-place finish in Sunday’s half-marathon so that he could send the $500 prize to his 13-year-old daughter in Venezuela, the daily reported.

“We had all our usual security measures in place, including a protocol we follow rigorously,” the race organizing commission said in a statement.

The runner died at Calderón Guardia Hospital in east-central San José shortly after arrival.

Yáñez was running alongside Costa Rican Paralympic athlete Laurens Molina, who contacted the victim’s family in Venezuela to inform them about his death. Molina said the victim’s sister will arrive in Costa Rica on Monday to coordinate the transfer of his body, and that the Venezuelan Consulate is supporting this process.

See Laurens Molina talk about Yáñez on Columbia Deportiva:

This is the second time this year that a drunk driver has killed athletes in the early morning hours. On Jan. 29, a drunk driver killed four cyclists on the road to Tres Ríos, east of the capital, who were on their way to Volcán Irazú.

La Prensa Libre reported last week that the legal case against the suspect in the Tres Ríos crime is still in the preparatory stages.

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