NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Brandon Barber, the former Cuba police officer convicted of killing two people while driving drunk down I-25, has been sentenced to 26 years in prison. The crash killed 50-year-old Alfredo Escaname-Hernandez and 21-year-old Diego Arellano after Barber, who was off-duty, drove the wrong way down I-25 while drunk after leaving Sandia Casino.
“This has impacted us in the worst way you can imagine because we had the perfect world, both of our parents, our siblings. Unfortunately, that was stripped from us, that was robbed,” said Escaname-Hernandez’s son, Frederico Escaname. Still mourning nearly two years after, the victim’s families asked Barber to be given the maximum sentence. “That day not only did I lose my husband, I lost part of my heart,” said Martha Nuñez-Escaname.
Barber pled guilty to the crimes in December, taking full responsibility for his actions. His attorney said Barber wanted to help bring closure to the victims’ families. “I know we are all here because somebody is doing the right thing, but in your heart think about it: are you really doing the right thing knowing you still have another opportunity at a second chance at life,” added Frederico Escaname.
Before District Court Judge Stan Whittaker handed Barber his sentence, the former Cuba police officer addressed the courtroom, asking for forgiveness and expressing remorse. “We were brought together because of the mistake that I made when that resulted in a heartbreaking and traumatic event. I had no intention of hurting or harming anyone every day and night I pray for the victims and their families. I take full responsibility and I bare much guilty,” Barber said.
Judge Whittaker said Barber taking responsibility for his action was a reason he handed down the 26-year sentence, Barber was facing up to 45 years. Barber had been in custody since pleading guilty in December to two counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, a third count of great bodily harm by a vehicle while driving under the influence, and a fourth count to an open container being in his car at the time of the crash.
Barber had a prior DWI in 2017. He was fired by Cuba police after the crash.