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Blake Bollema

Blake Bollema

An Artesia man is in custody and a child remains in critical condition following a suspected DWI wreck that occurred Friday on U.S. 285.

New Mexico State Police officers were dispatched at approximately 11 p.m. Friday to U.S. 285 and 13th Street in reference to an accident with injuries. There, they located a SUV occupied by a family of six that had been travelling from Roswell to Artesia.

Initial investigation determined the driver of a pickup was headed north on 13th Street when he failed to stop at the U.S. 285 intersection, colliding with the southbound SUV. The pickup’s driver then fled the scene.

All six occupants of the SUV sustained injuries. Three occupants were treated at Artesia General Hospital and released, while the remaining three – the mother, a 5-year-old male child, and an 8-year-old female child – sustained serious injuries and were airlifted to Lubbock, Texas.

The mother and son are currently listed in stable condition, while the daughter remains in critical condition.

The driver of the pickup returned to the scene of the accident approximately one hour later and identified himself to officers as Blake Bollema, 31, of Artesia. Bollema told the NMSP he had left the scene following the accident and called a family friend, who brought him back to speak with police.

Officers noted the smell of alcohol on Bollema’s breath and obvious signs of impairment. Bollema refused field sobriety tests and, following his arrest, also refused to submit to breath or blood tests. NMSP officers obtained a search warrant to collect a blood sample. Results of that testing are pending.

Bollema was booked into the Artesia Detention Center on charges of aggravated DWI (second offense), three counts of great bodily harm by vehicle (under the influence of alcohol or drugs), fleeing the scene of an accident, failure to render aid, and a stop sign violation.

The vehicles involved in the accident were impounded by the NMSP Crash Reconstruction Unit for further analysis. The investigation is ongoing.