ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The trial against the man accused of driving drunk and killing a popular Albuquerque rapper Wake Self is now underway. The suspect is also facing a new lawsuit as is the bar where he worked. The rapper’s estate claims the business is also responsible for what happened that night.
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Wake Self’s estate lays out evidence that they say show Diego Pichardo was drunk at the time of the November 2019 crash and that he had a history of both driving drunk and drinking on the clock.
Officer: “I can smell very strong odor of alcohol coming from your body, man.”
Pichardo: “That’s fine.”
Officer: “So, did you have a sip of beer or anything?”
Pichardo: “No, sir.”
Officer: “Nothing at all? So how can you explain why you smell like alcohol?”
Pichardo: “Probably because I work in the industry.”
Officer: “You work in the industry? Okay, that doesn’t explain to me why it’s emitting from your body. You have no clothes on right now.”
In November 2019, Pichardo worked at The Bull Ring, a restaurant and bar near the Santa Fe Plaza. The lawsuit claims, in the months leading up to the crash, Pichardo would frequently drink while at work, to the point of getting drunk, and his manager and the owners were well aware of it.
In fact, Wake Self’s estate argues The Bull Ring was negligent in promoting a culture of drinking alcohol at work. The lawsuit also claims The Bull Ring didn’t keep track of or properly document alcohol sales or consumption. On the day of the crash, the lawsuit says an interlock in Pichardo’s car proves he was drinking at work, blowing a .05 while clocked in, three hours before the collision. Then two hours before, pictures show someone else blowing into the interlock.
Police say Pichardo was driving the wrong way on West Alameda when he hit Wake Self’s vehicle head-on. After the crash, police say Pichardo had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit. That arrest was his third for DWI. Before the crash, Wake Self, whose legal name is Andrew Martinez, was described by Meow Wolf as a monumental force of positivity in the hip-hop scene.
Pichardo is facing charges of homicide by vehicle, DWI and reckless driving. His trial is expected to go into next week.