Volunteer fire chief puts county on notice of possible lawsuit

Posted: June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Eddie Velarde, second from left facing camera, talks with volunteer firefighters on March 29, the day he was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct at the scene of a fire in northern New Mexico. (Image courtesy KOB-TV)

Eddie Velarde, chief of the Velarde Volunteer Fire Department, is considering a lawsuit against Rio Arriba County stemming from his arrest at a fire scene in March.

Santa Fe attorney Diego Zamora served Rio Arriba County Clerk Moises A. Morales Jr. with a tort claim notice of behalf of Velarde last week.

On March 29, Rio Arriba County sheriff’s Deputy Adam Archuleta arrested Velarde, 53, at a fire in Lyden, north of Española, and charged him with disorderly conduct. An amended complaint added a charge of falsifying information, which was related to an erroneous address given at the location of the fire. Lt. Archuleta’s police report describes Velarde as behaving in a hysterical manner, prompting the officer to take control of the scene and allow other volunteer firefighters who had responded to put out the fire.

Velarde has a status conference for his court case scheduled for June 27 in Rio Arriba County Magistrate Court and a jury trial July 1. Zamora claims Velarde “sustained compensable injuries with resulting damages for which Rio Arriba County is vicariously liable.”

Here is the original article from the incident:


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