New Mexico

Passengers hit by Sandoval County deputy file lawsuit

RIO RANCHO, N.M. (KRQE) - A chase between deputies and a motorcyclist ended with a crash into another vehicle, injuring four people. Now, the innocent bystanders struck by the deputy are suing.

The lawsuit claims Sandoval County Deputy Joseph Harris was going at a high speed and did not make sure the intersection was clear before he entered it, even though he had the green light.

The crash happened in January as Deputy Harris was chasing after a motorcycle near 528 and Corrales Road.

According to Rio Rancho Police, as Deputy Harris lost sight of the motorcycle, he crashed into a white Acura with three people inside.

Police say Deputy Harris' truck landed in a dirt lot, breaking his leg.

Meanwhile, one of the passengers in the Acura flew out the windshield with the driver and other passengers also injured.

Now, the two passengers, but not the driver, are suing the deputy and the Sandoval County Board of County Commissioners. They claim Harris was not cautious, causing extensive damage and injury.

What the lawsuit fails to mention is that the driver of the Acura, Jacqueline Wheeler, was allegedly drunk.

Toxicology reports show Wheeler's BAC was a 0.10. KRQE News 13 is waiting for clarification from Rio Rancho's Municipal Court on the status of the DWI charge.

KRQE News 13 also reached out to the attorney representing these passengers, and have not heard back. 

The Sheriff's Office did not want to comment on the lawsuit but did say Deputy Harris is now with State Police.

According to police reports, the Acura turned in front of the deputy.


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