Hit and run crashes prove to be major issue in New Mexico

New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – An Albuquerque teen in her brand new car was sent crashing into a bus stop by a hit and run driver. She’s happy to be okay, but wants the driver caught.

KRQE learned situations similar to this incident are more common in our state than just about anywhere else.

“I was just driving down this road, and out of nowhere, I feel and hear a loud bang, against my car,” said Shayla Watkins.

Tuesday, the 18-year-old Atrisco High School senior was driving down 98th near Sage, when she was struck by another car. “I’m trying to gather everything that happened, and I’m hyperventilating,” said Watkins.

An APD officer was behind her when the crash happened and told her she was sent spinning down the road. She finally came to a stop at this bus stop but to her surprise, the other driver had vanished.

“They couldn’t find him, they sent another squad car after him, and there was nothing, he took off too fast,” she said.

Watkins had barely had her car a month and hadn’t even made her first car payment yet. She just purchased it, to drive to school, work, and to get her little sister around. “I worked so hard for that to be taken away by somebody so irresponsible,” Watkins said.

And across Albuquerque and New Mexico, hit and runs have been caught on camera. News 13 has covered several of them, like when a minivan plowed into a business’s company cars, and another when a truck destroying a front yard, barely missing a family’s car.

The teen driver seen here switching seats with the passenger before taking off. “New Mexico has one of the highest rates in the country,” said Daniel Armbruster with AAA New Mexico.

In AAA’s latest study, New Mexico had one of the three highest hit and run rates in the country.

“We know that the top three reasons are panic, also leaving the scene in hopes of avoiding prosecution because they’re impaired, and then also just feeling they’re not responsible for the accident, so they don’t have to stay at the scene,” said Armbruster.

For Watkins, who says her hit and run driver took off in a blue Honda Fit, she just wants her hit and run driver caught. “I just want to find that person because you know it would have been so much more helpful if he would have just stayed,” she said.

Just to give you an idea of how common this is, Albuquerque Police say there were 1,800 hit and run crashes in the city over the past two years.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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