Former officer pleads no contest to deadly hit and run charges

The former Albuquerque Police Officer who police say killed a woman in a wheelchair in a drunken hit and run crash pled to lesser charges Friday morning. 

He may not have to spend any time behind bars. 

Rodney Locke entered court Friday morning charged with vehicular homicide which carries up to 15 years.

However, he pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and DWI.

Now, he’s looking at a year behind bars max.

Police lapel video shows Locke that night in September of 2016.

He admitted to officers to having three or four beers at Billy’s Short Bar before heading home and hitting something on Louisiana near Lomas but didn’t know what.
    
Officers tracked him down at his home about a mile away from where he refused a breath test.

A blood test showed he had a .18 more than twice the legal limit. 

Police say the woman he hit was Kay Moss-Freese who was in a wheelchair.

Prosecutors on Friday explained why they offered a plea deal saying they did not feel they had enough to convict Locke of vehicular homicide by DWI at trial.

“We likely would not have been able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt causation that in fact, Mr. Locke’s intoxication caused the death of the decedent in this case primarily because the decedent was in a wheelchair at night in a lane of traffic,” said Prosecutor David Waymire.

Prosecutors say they also feared not being able to prove Locke was drunk behind the wheel because police didn’t catch him until he was already home.

They say they think they got the best outcome possible and the victim’s family agreed to the plea.
 
It will now be up to Judge Cindy Leos whether Locke serves his one year in jail or on house arrest and whether he’s eligible for good time. 

His sentencing is scheduled for the end of July.

The woman’s family sued Rodney Locke and the owner of Billy’s Long Bar for over-serving him.

That trial is set for November. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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