ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With the trial of Sergio Almanza beginning Tuesday, he admits to hitting and killing a seven-year-old boy and injuring the boy’s father while they were leaving the River of Lights in 2021. But he’s fighting a key accusation tied to the crash.
Almanza is arguing that, while he may have hit and killed 7-year-old Pronoy Bhattacharya in an intersection, he claims he was not drunk when the crash happened. Jurors saw video from the crash scene Tuesday.
It was an emotional morning in court with prosecutors showing video of APD responding to a deadly crash on December 12, 2021. Prosecutors say Almanza was speeding down Central in an UTV when he hit and killed Bhattacharya and injured his father.
The video shows people near the crowded intersection, trying to give the boy CPR while others prayed. The video left Almanza emotional in the courtroom.
Attorney Ahmad Assed says Almanza admits to driving recklessly, killing Pronoy, and injuring his father. But he says Almanza was not impaired. “We’re not going to side step or avoid his responsibility thorugh this trial, we’re not going to try to hide any excuses – that’s not going to happen,” said Assed. “We believe the evidence will not support an impairment case; a DWI case.”
Prosecutors called one of Almanza’s passengers to testify who said a group of friends, including Almanza, drank on and off thorughout the day. They also claimed they drnak roughly 30 minutes before the crash. In a cross examination, that witness admitted Almanza dind’t buy alcohol during one part of the day and drove, “okay.”
Prosecution: How was Sergio’s driving?
Witness: It was good.
Prosecution: Did you have any concern aobut his driving?
Pronoy’s parents also testified and described the fatal night. “I looked at him,” said Pronoy’s mom, Deepshikha Nag Chowdhury. “I could tell that he was not with me either. So I was just running back and forth, thinking my husband was dead as well.”
Almanza is expected to take the stand during the trial. The trial is expected to last through the middle of next week. If convicted, Almanza could spend up to 27 years behind bars.