PORTALES, N.M. (KSNW) – A former Hutchinson Community College cross country runner was killed in an accident when he was struck by a truck near the campus of Eastern New Mexico University on January 7.

Sylvestre Kibara had transferred to the university from the University of North Dakota last fall according to Patrice Caldwell, the chancellor of the university.

ENMU Family,

We are saddened to share with you news of the tragic passing of Sylvestre Kibara, who was killed in a traffic accident Friday afternoon, January 7,  while crossing Highway 70.  From Eldoret, Kenya, Sylvestre was a member of the Greyhound Cross-Country team. Before transferring to Eastern, he finished seventh in the NCJCAA cross-country division at Hutchinson Community College (KS).  Sylvestre spent one semester at the University of North Dakota before transferring to ENMU last fall, where he found a home and friends. He competed in five meets for the Greyhounds and qualified for the NCAA Division II South Central Regional championship. Sylvestre was a Communication major with an emphasis in journalism.  At this time, plans for a memorial have not been finalized, but the campus will be notified when they are.

We extend our deepest sympathies to his family, teammates, coaches, faculty, and friends.”

Patrice Caldwell
President/System Chancellor
Eastern New Mexico University

The New Mexico State Police said in a statement, that they were requested to investigate the accident by the Portales Police Department. The accident occurred on U.S. 70 near milepost 422, near West University Drive.

In the release, the state police said that the investigation indicated that Kibara was crossing the highway when he was struck by a pickup truck driving south on U.S. 70. Young also indicated that Kibara was not crossing in a designated crosswalk at the time of the crash.

While at HCC, Kibara helped the Blue Dragons to the 2018 Region VI cross country title, then finished 21st in the 2018 NJCAA National Meet. The next year, he finished 7th in the National Meet.

In 2020, he doubled in the 3,000 and 5,000 meters at the 2020 NJCAA Indoor Track and Field Championship. He won the 3,000 meters at the 2020 NJCAA Region VI Indoor Championship and finished third in the 5,000 meters. His best time of 24:30 is the fifth-fastest cross country time in Blue Dragon History.

Kibara was from Eldoret, Kenya. He was 28-years-old.