ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - His deadly DWI crash was a landmark case in New Mexico, and now he almost killed someone else. He nearly wiped out a sheriff's deputy on an icy and snow packed I-40 last night; that's because he was going the wrong way.
Westbound I-40 in the East Mountains was dangerous enough last night without a car coming towards you the wrong way.
‘It was a huge danger, I mean huge," Torrance County Sheriff Heath White said.
White said Leo Lucero was driving drunk, "He had several close calls but the one good thing is it was 2 o'clock in the morning so there was low traffic."
This isn't the first time; Lucero already had two DWI convictions when he slammed his car into a van near Tucumcari in 2005 killing two people.
But, the vehicular homicide case against Lucero was dropped just this summer.
Lucero spent nine months at the state's mental hospital where court records show he was deemed "mentally retarded".
They never could treat him to competency," Quay County Assistant District Attorney Tim Rose said. "So by statute the judge's hands are tied and the D.A.'s hands are tied. If you're not competent you can't go forward to trial."
The judge monitored Lucero for two years; making sure he was behaving, taking his meds and not drinking. Lucero never slipped, and a psychiatrist testified there was no proof Lucero would physically harm anyone. The judge was forced to dismiss the case, despite worries about Lucero's DWI history.
"That was everybody's concern and everybody's fear that he would do the same thing again," said Rose.
Just last week rose found out Lucero had been arrested in October for DWI. He didn't know about last night's escapade until News 13 Reporter Alex Tomlin called.
"It's unbelievable, and just glad nobody got killed," said Rose.
Speaking of last night, it took deputies from Zuzax to Edgewood to get Lucero stopped.
"He was very agitated, refused to exit the vehicle, and then once they got him out of the vehicle he started fighting with deputies," said Sheriff White.
When deputies finally got Lucero under control he made an amazing admission, he had actually left his 10 year old child in Santa Rosa to go hit the bar scene in Albuquerque.
Because of these recent DWI's, Rose is re-filing the 2005 case.
"He will be charged again with the vehicular homicide counts," said Rose.
The D.A.'s office thinks Lucero's new charges will convince a judge that he is a danger, and that could get him committed to the state's mental hospital for 10 or 20 years. That's the time he would have served if he had been convicted in the 2005 case.
Lucero's deadly 2005 crash set a precedent. His passenger that night, Patrick Marquez, was convicted of vehicular homicide because he drank and drove with Lucero. The State Supreme court upheld the conviction a couple years ago.
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