Judge rejects motion to hold driver accused in cyclist hit-and-run crash

Crime

The driver accused of hitting and seriously injuring a bicyclist will be released from jail because of surveillance video that didn’t make it into evidence.

Albuquerque Police arrested Allen Hackett last week on charges that he hit a bicyclist in front of the car wash on Central near Juan Tabo, then fled the scene. The cyclist, Joe Fricke, remains in critical condition.

Surveillance video shows the victim was riding his bike eastbound on the sidewalk along Central when a westbound car swerved into the parking lot of the car wash. A video shows the man bounced off the windshield of the car, on top of the car, then hit the ground.

Moments after the crash, the video shows the driver took off. Albuquerque Police arrested and charged Hackett in the hours following the crash.

The surveillance video in the case was released to the media a day after the crash.

“We wanted to release this video to make everybody aware of the consequences of drinking and driving or using drugs and driving,” said Albuquerque Police Officer Simon Drobik on Tuesday, July 3.

However, the video’s public release has now caused problems for prosecutors.

During a pre-trial detention hearing Tuesday, Hackett’s attorney raised objections over the lack of evidence the defense has been able to access.

Hackett’s attorney Julpa Dave noted that the media obtained surveillance video tied to the case, however, that evidence wasn’t made available to prosecutors or the defense.

“APD has been in possession of this for a week now,” said Dave.

Hackett’s defense argued that without the surveillance video, Hackett is at a disadvantage in defending himself against the charges.

Prosecutors with the Bernalillo County District Attorney’s Office were attempting to get Hackett held through the duration of his trial.

However, the judge denied the pre-trial detention motion, citing the video as part of her reasoning.

“I’m gonna deny the motion based on the fact that this surveillance was not provided to the state so they could provide it to the defense, but made it a priority to disclose it to the media,” District Court Judge Cindy Leos said. 

“Of course the public has a right to know, I understand the purpose of the media, but we’re talking about Mr. Hackett’s liberty interest here,” said Judge Leos.

Before making her decision, Leos had the prosecutor call the APD officer assigned to the case for an explanation as to how the video got released and why the officer didn’t tag it into evidence.

The officer told Judge Leos he “didn’t think about” tagging the video into evidence, but admitted that he could have.

“The priority should be releasing (the video) to all parties, including the state,” said Judge Cindy Leos during the hearing.

Hackett was ordered to complete drug treatment before being released from jail. Judge Leos also order that Hackett take part in additional drug treatment while his case plays out in court.

“This is a serious case, someone was seriously harmed and I hope that…  that fact isn’t… that’s not something I’m ignoring in this case but the rules have to be followed, it’s only fair,” said Judge Leos.

Hackett will be supervised by pre-trial detention services.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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