NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – A man who pled guilty to crashing into an Uber and killing two people was supposed to be sentenced this week. However, the family of the victims will have to wait longer to see justice served.
Two families are left frustrated Tuesday night after finding out the accused drunk driver who caused a crash and killed their family members will stay out of jail for now.
“We’re tired. We need some closure. We need some restitutions. Some sleep,” said a family member of Kristina Martinez on Tuesday at a court hearing.
In May of 2019, Joseph Urvanejo was reportedly drunk when he slammed into an Uber near Alameda and Pan American Freeway. Kristina Martinez and Robert Gallegos were in the Uber and were killed in the crash.
In March, Urvanejo pled guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide and was supposed to be sentenced on June 1, 2023. However, his defense Attorney Ryan Villa asked to delay sentencing because he will be out of state for a federal case.
In a statement, Villa told News 13 the conflict came up at the beginning of last week, and he notified the prosecutor right away. He noted scheduling conflicts happen all the time.
“If it were a civil case, I certainly wouldn’t mind continuing that to a later date, but this is for a federal criminal case,” said Villa.
The prosecutor in court Tuesday argued this is a burden on the families.
“This is very inconvenient for the family because they have already made arrangements to travel here, and they’ve booked hotels and then also taken off work and prepared for this. This is kind of last minute as far as resetting it,” said prosecuting Attorney Guinevere Ice.
Judge Courtney Weaks agreed to the delay but warned Villa she will not allow another postponement.
“Mr. Villa, I hope you understand the level of frustration that this has caused to a lot of different people,” said Weaks.
The families, who have been waiting four years for justice, said even bigger than the inconvenience is the emotional toll.
“We’ve been sitting here waiting, and this hurts us. Two, big families going through this. It’s not fair,” said the family.
The sentencing will now be on Friday, July 28, 2023. Urvanejo will continue to remain out of jail during that time. He is facing 18 years behind bars.