A Santa Fe man’s inattention Dec. 29 led to a three-car accident and put the man in the hospital with serious injuries.
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Danny Vigil surmised in his incident report that Damon Schuetz, 46, approached the intersection of U.S. Highway 84/285 and State Road 106 (Dreamcatcher Theater) and hit a vehicle from behind with no indication he tried to slow or brake.
Schuetz was unconscious at the scene and given Narcan, an opioid effects reversing drug. He was taken to St. Vincents Hospital in Santa Fe.
Schuetz’s 2007 Nissan struck, from the rear, a 2017 Infinity driven by Gerard Nugent, 33, of Austin, Texas. Nugent’s vehicle was subsequently pushed into a 2021 Toyota Tacoma, driven by Billy Vaughn, 47, of Mont Belvieu, Texas.
Nugent had four passengers with him, all from Austin also. Nugent and all of his passengers told Vigil they did not hear or see anything until they heard a loud bang and felt the car jolt forward at the same time.
The incident report did not describe any injuries to the people in the Infinity nor the Toyota but they were seen on the side of the road talking with deputies as the scene was processed.
Vaughn also told Vigil he heard and felt nothing until Nugent’s vehicle hit his truck. Vaughn was able to drive away from the scene. Nugent’s Infinity was towed with what Vigil described as moderate damage.
Schuetz’s Nissan was crushed from the front bumper back to the dashboard and struck Nugent’s Infinity so hard, it turned sideways inside the lane.
Vigil states in the report Schuetz was clearly at fault.
“I could not locate an insurance for vehicle #1 (Schuetz),” Vigil wrote. “I observed three loaded syringes with a brown liquid substance suspected to be heroin on the left front passenger’s side of the vehicle. The syringes were collected and the brown like substance was tested using a drug testing kit. The brown liquid substance tested positive for heroin.”
Schuetz was cited for possession of heroin, possession of drug paraphernalia, driving under the influence and driving without insurance.
Schuetz had two speeding tickets dismissed in Rio Arriba Magistrate Court five years apart.
He was charged in 1997 with DWI in Albuquerque Metro, which was dismissed. That case resulted in a warrant being issued for his arrest for failure to attend DWI school and pay fines and fees.
He was charged in 2005 with burglary, accessory to burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 171 day and was released for time served.
None of the new charges have been filed.