ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Closing arguments were heard Wednesday morning and the jury is deliberating in the trial of Sergio Almanza. He is accused of driving an ATV along Central and Tingley back in December of 2021 when he hit and killed 7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya and injured the boys father. The boy and his father were crossing the road after the River of Lights.
“My client did not consume any alcohol other than, at the best, a beer that Andres testified about,” defense attorney for Sergio Almanza, Ahmad Assed said.
Closing arguments started with prosecutors trying to convince jurors that Almanza was drunk when the crash happened. Almanza’s defense says there is no physical evidence that Almanza was drunk at the time of the crash.
Jurors deliberated for nearly five hours after hearing several hours of closing arguments. The prosecution focused on the idea that Almanza fled from the scene of the crime after the crash because he had something to hide.
“This isn’t the actions of someone taking responsibility or that had just been in a regular accident,” said Greer Staley, Deputy Attorney General for the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office. “This is someone trying to cover up this DWI.”
Prosecutors argued that after hitting 7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya with a Can-Am ATV, Almanza’s friends testified that he started acting strange, even later telling friends he knew he “hit a kid”.
Prosecutors also reminded jurors that Almanza got a friend to help him hide the ATV after the crash. Almanza’s defense, however, argued today that there’s not enough concrete evidence to convict Almanza of drunk driving.
“Did anybody see him in any event hold a beer or a shot glass,” Assed said. “In any of the evidence presented to you in this trial did you see that? No. Because that is the evidence.”
The trial has been going on for the past week. Prosecutors called more than a dozen witnesses, while the defense wrapped their case without calling a witness.
If convicted on all counts, Almanza faces up to 27 years in prison.
Deliberation will continue tomorrow.