SANTA FE (KRQE) - Ex-State Police Officer Alfred Lovato has now been cleared of all charges in the drunken hit-and-run that left a Santa Fe pedestrian dead in the street.
Late Tuesday afternoon a District Court jury acquitted Lovato, who was a passenger in the car, of leaving the scene of an accident.
On Monday the same jury was ordered by the judge to find Lovato not guilty of vehicular homicide, the same charge for which driver Carlos Fierro is now serving six years in prison.
Prosecutors tried to show Lovato and Fierro had planned on drinking heavily during a night of bar hopping in Santa Fe making both responsible for the death of William Tenorio, 46, outside WilLee's Blues Bar in November 2008.
Police stopped Fierro's black BMW with a shattered windshield some distance from the crime scene. He later tested for a blood-alcohol level of 0.21, nearly three times the legal limit.
Lovato tested at 0.15 and testified he wasn't aware the men had hit anything.
The prosecutors' homicide case collapsed when District Judge Michael Vigil ordered a directed verdict of acquittal essentially ruling they had not proven their case. After that the trial continued on the charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
"Our perspective on what happened is straightforward---two adult men decided they were going to get stinking drunk together; both decided they should drive despite being severely impaired; then they stopped to get snacks together; and both were in the car when they struck and killed a pedestrian," Attorney General Gary King said in a statement released by his office. "We are disappointed that the judge did not let the jury deliberate our evidence because we believe they would have agreed with us that both men are responsible for William Tenorio's death that tragic evening in Santa Fe."
KRQE News 13 was in the courtroom for the verdict and will have more on this story including the reaction of the defense in afternoon and evening newscasts.
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