About five years ago, Morgan “Big Show” Arvizo learned that a friend of his had never thrown a birthday party. So he decided to change that.
Within two hours, Arvizo gathered his friend’s loved ones at his Las Vegas home for a surprise celebration, and even transported the cake on his motorcycle.
“They were blown away,” Tawnya Rosenthal said Monday, two days after Arvizo, her close friend and former roommate, was killed by a motorist suspected of being on the run while impaired in the Central Valley.
The 35-year-old was remembered as a “3 a.m. friend”, who gave up everything to care for those in his large group of friends.
At the time of his death on Saturday, the Ely resident who visited Las Vegas every weekend was on his way to a memorial walk honoring a deceased friend, Rosenthal said.
Arvizo was driving his Harley-Davidson FXSTB on Rancho Drive around 7:15 p.m. when a Dodge Ram turning on Turquoise Lane passed him, police said.
Dodge driver Armando Alcantara-Pichardo fled on foot before being arrested in the area, police said. An arrest report alleges the 38-year-old suspect smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot and watery eyes and an “unsteady gait”.
He was remanded to the Clark County Detention Center on one count of impaired driving, stopping at the scene of an accident and misdemeanor violation, according to jail records.
A judge on Monday set Alcantara-Pichardo’s bond at $100,000, according to court records. His lawyer could not be reached for comment.
‘A teddy bear’
“Morgan was the friend you knew you could count on no matter the time of day or what you needed,” his older sister, Julie Arvizo, wrote in a prepared statement. “If he had $10 and you had nothing, he would give you the $10 and tell you he was good, even if that meant he was going without.”
Arvizo is survived by his grandparents, parents, two sisters and a nephew.
“With this tragedy, we ask that on behalf of our family, everyone stops to think before they drink and drive, and if you turn left, stop and look so you don’t have to endure this. that our family is going through,” the statement continued. “His absence will be missed by so many.”
Rosenthal met Arvizo ten years ago while riding a motorcycle with a group of bikers who randomly decided they wanted to try a meal hundreds of miles away.
Rosenthal, a single mother, and Arvizo, a native of California, quickly became close friends, she said.
“He loved to cook and he loved to eat,” Rosenthal said.
Tall and bulky, Arvizo let out an “intimidating” aura that made his loved ones feel safe, but “when you got to know him he was a big teddy bear,” his friend said.
Eventually, he moved to rural Nevada, but commuted to Las Vegas on his days off, and his dedication to the local biker community never wavered.
When her significant other passed away, Rosenthal said, Arvizo stayed home “to make sure I wasn’t alone.”
Arvizo was an up-and-coming artist, working to start a marketing and art business, Rosenthal said. He dreamed of “settling down” and having children, she added, describing it as his “American dream”.
When Rosenthal started the “Rider SOS Accident Fund”, a non-profit organization that raises money for injured motorcyclists or family members of deceased motorcyclists, Arvizo was one of his biggest helpers, who helped to develop the program.
In less than three years, the nonprofit has raised funds for about 150 runners, Rosenthal said.
Arvizo had lost several friends in fatal accidents and, “every time” he heard of another death, she said, “it hit him very, very hard and very personally.”
As of Monday night, donors had raised nearly $7,000 of an $8,000 goal on Arvizo’s memorial page.
When asked what she wanted motorists to know about motorcyclists, Rosenthal replied, “Just look twice, listen, look again.”