Mother of 12-year-old girl killed in Rio Rancho crash speaks out


RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque woman says she’s heartbroken after her daughter was killed in a car crash in Rio Rancho last month. Now, she’s speaking out and hopes the person responsible learned his lesson.

“She had a personality on her. She was very silly. She would make everybody laugh, the things she would come up with,” says Crystal Lugo.

However, last month, 12-year old Mezmerize Atencio’s life was cut short. “Right there told me, I knew something bad happened,” says Lugo.

Rio Rancho Police say Estevan Miguel Chavez was driving more than a hundred miles per hour in a red Monte Carlo on Highway 528. Police say Chavez hit a Nissan Maxima, killing the passenger.

Lugo says that was her daughter. “It was heart wrenching just waiting and wondering what was going on,” she says.

Lugo says she couldn’t believe Chavez could be so careless once she found out what happened to her daughter. “Whatever the reason was that he was speeding, it’s beyond me, beyond me. That fast on a 45 mph road,” she says.

Chavez was charged with homicide by vehicle and reckless driving, but has since been released from jail. As the reality of her daughter’s death sinks in, Lugo wants other drivers to be extra cautious while out on the road.

“Stop and think about what they’re doing and where they’re going. There’s no rush. You don’t want to lose your life because you’re in a rush to get somewhere,” she says.

Even though trying to heal from Mezmerize’s death has been a struggle the past month, Lugo is happy to know her daughter is now at peace. “She was too good for this world. This world didn’t deserve her,” she says.

Lugo says Mezmerize’s cousin was driving her that day. Her cousin walked away from the crash with a few broken ribs and a broken shoulder. Meanwhile, Chavez has pled not guilty to all his charges.

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