ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - A district court judge has ruled there is enough evidence to move to trial in the case of an APD sergeant involved in a fatal crash back in February .
He made that decision after hearing testimony at a preliminary hearing Tuesday, including testimony from a key witness who had not said anything publicly until now.
Ashley Browder, 21, was killed in the crash that took place in the early morning hours of February 10. Her 19-year-old sister Lindsay survived. Tuesday, she took the witness stand.
Browder, under oath, recalled the night that put her in a wheelchair. She was driving a Honda CRV when APD sergeant Adam Casaus sped through a red light and crashed into her, killing her older sister Ashley.
Browder recalled the moments before the crash.
"I was going to take her back to our parents house," Browder said.
She said her sister had called her for a ride home from a downtown nightclub, since Ashley didn't want to drive after she'd been drinking.
"She knew to always call me and I'd pick her up no matter what time of night," said Browder.
Investigators said Browder was driving roughly 40 miles-an-hour, when Casaus smashed into the passenger side of their car with his police SUV, going roughly 64 miles-an-hour - nearly 20 miles-an-hour over the speed limit.
"The last thing I remember is just going through the green light at the intersection right before the crosswalk," said Browder. "And then I don't remember anything until the hospital."
At the time, Casaus was off duty, and told investigators he was following a suspected drunk driver, however, there's no dispatch logs to prove that.
Casaus also said he put his lights and siren on to pass the intersection, but Browder and other witnesses called to the stand said they didn't hear one.
Browder also testified that her car radio was off at the time.
Jana Villanueva was stopped at the intersection right before the crash. She too said she didn't hear a siren and that she didn't see Casaus slow down when approaching the intersection.
Michael Marthe said he was driving behind Casaus at the time.
"I distinctly remember finding it curious that you know, no brake lights had come on, there was really no yielding going into the red light there at the intersection," said Marthe.
Each testimony was enough for the judge to decide Casaus should face trial for the crash.
After the hearing, Casaus was arraigned on charges of felony vehicular homicide and great bodily injury by reckless driving. He pled not guilty.
There's no trial date set yet.
Casaus has to turn himself into the jail for booking by Friday.
APD has not said if he will be fired. In the past, the chief has said officers indicted for felonies will be fired. On Tuesday, APD officials said they will wait for the results of an internal affairs investigation to decide what to do.
Tuesday's decision by the judge is equivalent to a grand jury indictment.
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