A high school wrestling coach is behind bars after hitting another coach with his car.
District officials said this behavior is out of character for Mark Martinez, who coaches high school wrestling and is well known in the community.
“We’ve had winning wrestling programs for many, many years here. It’s a really popular sport. His coaching career is pretty much done here,” said Superintendent Kelt Cooper.
Tuesday, 41-year-old Mike Martinez was arrested for assault, accused of using his car to run down another coach in Las Vegas. Martinez is a history teacher at Memorial Middle School and Robertson High School wrestling coach.
“It was out of character what I had heard, and again just out of character for this allegation to make any sense at all,” Cooper said.
Police said it happened in May at the victim’s home on North Road.
According to the arrest affidavit, the two men had been arguing through text messages. Both are coaches for the city’s junior wrestling program.
“We have a lot of interest in wrestling here at an early age and so there are private wrestling coaches that donate their time for younger kids,” Cooper said.
According to the victim, he and Martinez agreed to meet so they could fight, but when Martinez arrived he suddenly drove at him and hit him.
Martinez, however, told police a different story, claiming the victim threw a rock at his windshield, shattering it.
However, police found no evidence a rock caused the damage, instead they found small amounts of skin and denim in the cracks of the shattered glass. School officials said they are shocked.
“This came as a total surprise because he’s been an ideal teacher and a superb coach,” Cooper said.
District officials said Martinez will no longer coach wrestling at Robertson High. He may be allowed back at the middle school to teach history, but that depends on the outcome of the case.
The victim, who police are not naming, had to be flown to UNM hospital to be treated for his injuries.
New Mexico State Police agents were able to confirm he victim’s statement that he was struck with Martinez’s vehicle.
Mark Martinez was arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in great bodily harm.
He has been booked into the San Miguel County Detention Center.