SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Santa Fe Police Department has released the identity of the officer who died in a crash following a chase on I-25. Officer Robert Duran was 43-years-old. He is survived by his wife and two teenage sons.
“Officer Duran was well respected and loved by his peers. We as a department and individual are grieving and processing his loss,” said Paul Joye, Interim Chief of the Santa Fe Police Dept. “This is a hit for all of us. This is going to take us a while to get through. We’re not a big department, we all know each other, we all love each other. This is devastating for all of us. This is a family here.”
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Duran has been with Santa Fe Police since January of 2015. He is the third SFPD officer to die in the line of duty.
Right now, the department asks for privacy for the family as they grieve the loss. Wednesday evening, officers from multiple agencies escorted Duran’s body down I-25 to the Office of the Medical Investigator in Albuquerque. As the department feels this loss, New Mexico State Police are not only taking over the investigation but also assisting with daily operations tomorrow so Duran’s colleagues can grieve.
“I hope they understand and the community understands that State Police supports them. We’re just sickened by this that it seems to continue to happen,” said Chief Tim Johnson of NMSP. “We have officers coming in tomorrow morning to cover every single call for service in the City of Santa Fe so that this department, this community can grieve together.”
The other driver killed in the crash has been identified as 62-year-old Frank Lovato from Las Vegas, New Mexico. Lovato was a retired Las Vegas, New Mexico firefighter.
Law enforcement is still looking for the suspect since he fled the scene after the crash. According to witnesses, the male suspect was described as wearing a red shirt, black pants, and a black jacket.