Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jack Casias investigated a two vehicle crash Sept. 28 that occurred on State Road 68, just south of Velarde.
Casias states in his incident report he arrived at the accident at 4:52 p.m. to find a 2017 Chevrolet Colorado four-door truck lying on its drivers side across the northbound lane. Inside the vehicle was an unconscious Jesus Martinez, 30, Española. His girlfriend, Brittany Jones was in the back seat trying to provide aid to Martinez.
Casias asked Jones if she had been in the crash and she said no.
Sitting in the median was a 1999 Chrysler Sebring, driven by Joseph Benson, 25, Hernandez. Benson was lying on the ground in front of his car. Also in Benson’s care were a 9-year-old girl and 1-year-old boy. Neither sustained serious injuries, Casias states and were transported by family to the Española Hospital Emergency Room.
Casias first spoke to witness Marjorie Emde, Taos. Emde told Casias she was traveling north on State Road 68 when she saw Martinez’s truck stopped on the shoulder of the southbound lanes. Emde said the truck abruptly pulled across the two southbound lanes and made a U-turn in front of Benson’s Sebring.
Emde told Casias it appeared Benson was traveling at a normal rate of speed but could not avoid striking Martinez’s truck, which flipped over Benson’s car and landed on its driver’s side.
After medical staff extracted Martinez from his truck Casias spoke to Jones. She is the registered owner of the truck.
Jones said she and Martinez were taking a couch to her home when they got into an argument. She did not recall what the argument was about. Martinez stopped and she got out of her truck.
She said she walked north on the southbound shoulder and Martinez turned the truck around and started following her. She told him to leave her alone and Martinez then made a U-turn in the southbound lanes, crossed the median and pulled in front of northbound traffic, where Benson struck the truck Martinez was driving.
Jones told Casias the two had been drinking before the accident and Casias wrote in his report Martinez and the truck smelled like alcohol.
Both Martinez and Benson were transported to the Española Hospital and then airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque with unknown injuries.
The conclusion section of the incident report was either redacted or not completed, so it is not known if Martinez’s blood was drawn to check blood alcohol content. The report states a charge of reckless driving is pending.
Deputy James Mayers filed on Oct. 7 a Rio Arriba Magistrate Court Criminal complaint. The complaint charges Martinez with great bodily injury by motor vehicle (reckless driving).
The complaint states New Mexico State Police Officer John Olivas served Martinez at 9:25 p.m., Sept. 28 with a search warrant at University of New Mexico Hospital to perform a blood draw.
“Pending the result of the blood analysis, charges are subject to change,” Mayers wrote.