ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Police have arrested a teen in connection with Saturday’s deadly crash in northeast Albuquerque. This crash comes just days after Casino Salazar was arrested for a DWI-related incident in Roswell. The criminal complaint indicates alcohol could have been a factor in the incident.
A devastating scene was left in northeast Albuquerque where police say Salazar was driving an SUV when he reportedly hit a GMC around 7 p.m. Saturday, near Morris and Montgomery. The driver of the GMC died. Salazar, along with his four passengers, were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. A witness reportedly told officers Salazar appeared to be drunk.
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Police found multiple liquor bottles, firearms, and pot inside Salazar’s vehicle according to the criminal complaint. Authorities say Salazar denied driving the vehicle, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. Salazar refused a field sobriety test so officials got a warrant to get a blood sample.
This comes just days after the 19-year-old was arrested for a single-car crash and charged with DWI and trying to evade police in Roswell. He was released from jail on conditions that he wouldn’t drive, drink alcohol, or leave Chaves County while that case is pending. Linda Atkinson is the Executive Director of the DWI Resource Center. She explains, “If the other one hasn’t been adjudicated this is almost like he has a first there he has a first here. So they look at that.”
Salazar does not have any DWI convictions but now two DWI-related charges from these two crashes. The DWI Resource Center in Albuquerque is calling on police and judges to do more to help stop drinking and driving in New Mexico, which continues to rank among the worst states for drunk driving every year.
Atkinson says, “We miss the boat with not enough arrests and visibility of law enforcement and we miss the boat with the courts where it becomes that revolving door, in and out, slap on the wrist, if that.” She says these crashes are preventable but in order to see changes, she believes there needs to be more traffic safety enforcement.
Among Salazar’s charges in connection with Saturday night’s crash is vehicular homicide involving driving under the influence. In New Mexico, a conviction for the second-degree felony comes with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison and up to $12,500 in fines.
Salazar pleaded not guilty to his DWI charge from last week but Roswell police say he blew above the legal limit. His next hearing, in that case, is set for January.