A New Mexico driver is suing the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office over a head-on crash on a dusty desert road. The crash was all captured on the deputy’s dashcam.
“He’s on a gravel road and it’s a gravel road in Rio Arriba County. There’s some kind of vehicle around them. There’s dust on the road, it’s a gravel road,” says Joleen Youngers.
Youngers, an attorney, says her client was doing everything right when he was driving down Highway 112 near El Vado Lake, last April.
Sandoval County Sheriff’s Deputy, Brian Espinoza, was on that same road driving the other direction, while on his way to pick up a prisoner. “Deputy Espinoza speeds up and goes into the other lane and there’s a head-on crash with my client, who’s properly driving down a gravel road,” says Youngers.
According to the lawsuit against the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Espinoza got a written warning two months before the crash. The warning says he was speeding, texting and driving, and failing to maintain his lane.
Youngers believes the department should’ve known the deputy was a danger behind the wheel. “They need to be as good or better than the average driver on the road,” she says.
The sheriff’s office would not comment on the lawsuit but did say Deputy Espinoza is still employed and driving on the job.