ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A high-speed chase in Albuquerque ended with a crash and a lawsuit against the New Mexico State Police. The driver and passenger of the truck that was hit both say the accident could have been avoided.
Taylor Smith, the attorney representing one of the crash victims, says, “They were just hanging out, driving around, and out of nowhere were hit by someone being pursued by the New Mexico State Police.” Smith describes the event as one of “pure shock and terror.”
According to a criminal complaint, a New Mexico State Police Officer noticed a gold Cadillac with the license plate light out. The officer tried to pull the car over when Jose Rivera, the driver of the car, sped off. Despite trying two maneuvers to stop Rivera, the chase spanned all across Albuquerque, reaching speeds up to 100 mph. It ended with River slamming into a truck near Central and Wyoming before he was arrested.
The crash has now led to a lawsuit. In the lawsuit, Smith and his co-counsel argue New Mexico State Police officers involved in the case violated their policies and disregarded public safety during the chase.
“This car accident struck the truck with so much force, it spun around almost 360 degrees hitting another vehicle and Ms. Flores was partially ejected from the vehicle,” said Smith. He said she had lacerations on her face and a broken pelvis. Smith argued that the chase could’ve been called off since the state police helicopter was also tracking Rivera.
The lawsuit also claims the helicopter and some officers involved didn’t have their recording devices on like they were supposed to. Smith is asking for compensation for his clients and says he wants to make sure this never happens again. “People enjoying their night out shouldn’t have their life upended because of something that could’ve been done or dealt with later,” said Smith.
Rivera ended up pleading guilty to aggravated fleeing and leaving the scene of an accident. KRQE reached out to NMSP for comment but was told the agency does not comment on pending litigation.