Names not released in Wednesday crash; three remain hospitalized

Posted: November 11, 2010 in Uncategorized
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A screen-grab of video taken at the scene of a late Wednesday head-on collision on Agua Fria Street. (Courtesy KOB-TV)

Three of six people involved in a suspected alcohol-related crash late Wednesday on Agua Fría Street remained in critical condition late Thursday, according to Santa Fe Police.

Santa Fe Police Chief Aric Wheeler said he would not identify those involved in the crash — three of whom have been released from the hospital and are recovering at home — because investigators have not been able to conduct interviews with all of them.“We believe that alcohol is a possible contributing factor to the crash,” Wheeler said. “But right now I’m not going to go into any more details. A few of them are still in very critical condition at the hospital and that is the primary focus of things for right now.”

The accident occurred shortly after 10 p.m. when a Dodge Neon carrying three teenagers and a 20-year-old woman crossed the center lane and collided head-on with a late model Ford Explorer in front of Larragoite Elementary School about a mile west of St. Francis Drive.

A screen-grab of video taken from KOB-TV of a bottle of alcohol in the front seat of a Dodge Neon involved in a late Wednesday crash on Agua Fria Street. (Courtesy KOB-TV).

Thursday morning onlookers saw what appeared to be Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum on the driver’s seat of the decimated Neon. Criminal charges have not been filed, but Wheeler did say police would obtain a search warrant for the Dodge Neon.

Because none of the four in the car were over the age of 21, the state’s legal drinking age, police will try to find out where the alcohol came from and whether any or all of those in the car had been drinking. Police have not said if they know where the car was headed or coming from or whether more than the one bottle of alcohol visible early Thursday was found in the car.

A blood-draw of the 16-year-old driver of the Dodge Neon was conducted, according to Wheeler, but blood-alcohol results have not been released.

A 38-year-old woman and 22-year-old man in the SUV were treated for minor injuries and released from Christus-St. Vincent Region Medical Center on Thursday. Neither alcohol nor speed, Wheeler said, was not a factor on the part of the pair in the SUV.

That is not the case, police say, for the four in the Neon.

Wheeler said two males — the 16-year-old driver and a 17-year-old passenger — were in the front seat of the car at the time of the crash while two females — a 17-year-old and a 20-year-old, who is the older sister of the driver — were in the back seat.
The 17-year-old girl was released from St. Vincent on Thursday, but has not yet been interviewed.

The male driver, who appeared to suffer the most extensive damage as the left front portion of the car took the brunt of the impact, was airlifted with severe head trauma to University of New Mexico Hospital and was still in critical, but stable condition late Thursday.

The 17-year-old male in the front passenger seat and the 20-year-old female in the back seat, were both still in critical condition late Thursday at St. Vincent.

Another reason why all the interviews were not completed on Thursday is that many of the late-night crash scene investigators were assigned to the Veterans Day parade in Santa Fe. Many worked full shifts Wednesday, were called out Wednesday night, worked all night, did the parade Thursday, and got back to work on the crash investigation.

I’ll update more when I know more. I was working two pre-scheduled, non-crime-related projects Thursday and was unable to go knocking on doors to verify who was involved in the crash and try to talk with family. Feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have family contact info so we can report a little more about these people than only what police are giving us.

My e-mail is ggrammer@sfnewmexican.com. Thank you to those who have already e-mailed.

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