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National Guard prepares for investigation into deadly crash involving soldier

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico police officer accused in a deadly drunk driving crash could face military consequences since he is also a member of the National Guard.

“Two people died in this accident, it was a very serious alcohol incident, an alcohol-related incident, and it really is. Our policy’s pretty clear about how we deal with this but it’s too early for me to say exactly how it’s going to be dealt with,” said New Mexico Guard Major General Kenneth Nava.

Investigators say Cuba Police Officer Brandon Barber was driving the wrong way on I-25 on Saturday when he crashed head-on into an SUV, killing two people and leaving another person badly hurt. He is facing vehicular homicide charges at the state level but the National Guard says there will also be an investigation on the military side.

That could result in him being removed from the Guard. In the meantime, officials say they are looking at ways to strengthen their substance abuse policy in light of this crash and other recent incidents.

“Education efforts, making sure that we are doing prevention, substance abuse prevention. It’s really about, it’s about what we can do to stop this from ever happening again,” said Nava. Barber has a previous DWI conviction after pleading guilty to a charge from 2016.