ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Almost nine months after a crash that killed an Albuquerque mother, the District Attorney’s Office has charged someone for Erika Chavez’s death. Jose Ortiz-Munoz, 23, is facing three counts, one of them is homicide by vehicle. For the Chavez family, they said they’ve been waiting for this day ever since that crash happened.
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“This is absolutely what we’ve been waiting for,” said one of Chavez’s aunts, Annette Gonzales.
“We’re finally getting justice, we’re finally getting justice,” said another aunt, Irma Cramins. Chavez’s aunts found out on Friday that Ortiz-Munoz is finally getting charged for the crash that killed Chavez.
“This officially begins our journey to bring justice for Erika and her loved ones,” said Gonzales. The family said they’ve been waiting for charges to come down since that dreadful day back in September.
Chavez was turning onto Unser near Tower on the west side when police said a driver ran a red light and hit Chavez. Witnesses told police the driver in a red mustang was going about 120 miles per hour. Ortiz Munoz wasn’t arrested then, but now nine months later, he’s being charged with homicide by vehicle and reckless driving.
“The vehicle was a deadly weapon,” said Cramins. Because of that crash, Chavez became the face of an Albuquerque campaign, ‘Speeding Has a Name,’ to crack down on speeding in the city. Chavez, a mother of three, would’ve been 34 years old this month.
“This was such a senseless tragedy,” said Gonzales. “But it’s good that we’re moving forward with getting justice for Erika.” The family hopes Erika’s story will encourage people to slow down.
“Think about what they’re doing when they get behind the wheel of a car because it could be you know, your family member, your mother, father, your sister, your grandmother, your best friend, you know,” said Cramins. “Think before you get behind the wheel of a car.”
Ortiz Munoz has not been arrested. A spokesperson for the District Attorney’s Office said there is not an arrest warrant for this case. However, he is also being charged with possessing marijuana and paraphernalia. Ortiz Munoz’s preliminary hearing is set for July 1.