Published: 2:47 pm, Sun. Feb. 4th, 2018Updated: 2:47 pm
An Artesia man who admitted to having consumed alcoholic beverages prior to wrecking into a parked car in late January was issued a number of traffic citations after police were unable to locate him within the time frame needed for a DWI charge.
Artesia Police Department officers were dispatched around 7:30 a.m. Jan. 27 to the 1100 block of West Missouri Avenue in reference to the incident.
There, they located a multi-box mail post had been leveled and two vehicles damaged by a driver who then proceeded to flee the scene.
After running over the mail post, the driver had collided with one parked, unoccupied vehicle, knocking it into a second, before turning south on 10th Street and leaving the area.
Police were able to follow a fluid trail to the 1000 block of West Clayton Avenue, where they located the vehicle parked in the alley. It showed heavy damage to its front end.
It was around two hours later, however, before police were able to locate the driver. He agreed to speak with officers and admitted to having consumed alcohol before driving, as well as to having collided with the parked vehicles.
The driver was issued a standardized field sobriety test, Cmdr. Lindell Smith of the APD told the Daily Press, and while there were “some formalized clues and other indicators of impairment,” the fact that two hours had passed between the incident and contact with the driver did not allow police “to put any type of chemical level to his blood as far as alcohol content goes.”
“Yes, it was a bad decision on his part to drink and drive, and then ultimately crash into the two vehicles, but we’re limited as far as the constitutional issues and our ability to develop probable cause for prosecutable DWI, in particularly two hours after the fact,” said Smith.
The driver was instead issued five traffic citations.
Home surveillance video of the incident was sent by residents to KRQE in Albuquerque. Included among viewer comments were allegations the driver was the son of a local police officer, something Smith says is untrue.
“The driver was not a police officer’s son and was not a police officer’s anything; he was a young man who drove a car into other cars,” Smith said. “We will certainly do everything that we can within the criminal justice system to gain justice for the victim of the hit-and-run crime.”