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Driver in cliff plunge admits to drinking

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Two people were seriously hurt when this car plunged 200 feet off the Anderson Outlook on NM 502 near Los Alamos this afternoon. Photo: courtesy KOAT-TV.

Two people were seriously hurt when this car plunged 200 feet off the Anderson Outlook on NM 502 near Los Alamos this afternoon. Photo: courtesy KOAT-TV.

The driver of a car that plunged off a 200-foot cliff near Los Alamos last week, injuring himself and a female passenger, appeared to be drunk after the crash and admitted having two shots of vodka earlier in the day, according to a Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office report.

Zachary Sanchez, 30, also said the woman in the car with him, Andrea Harvier, 31, had been acting “crazy” and told him “I want to end our lives” just before she grabbed the steering wheel and the car went over the cliff about 3 p.m. on Aug. 25, according to an affidavit for several search warrants in the case.

The car flew off the road near Anderson Overlook on N.M. 502, which runs uphill along steep cliffs for travelers from Pojoaque and Española headed to Los Alamos.

Sanchez said he was traveling from Española to Los Alamos when he pulled the car onto the dirt shoulder on the right side of the highway. He told deputies that “Andrea then grabbed the steering wheel, pulling it to the right,” but he provided only “limited additional information,” the sheriff’s office documents state.

Anderson Overlook via Google Street View

Anderson Overlook via Google Street View

According to the deputy statements, Sanchez was observed “to be under the influence of alcohol” and emitted the odor of booze when he was interviewed at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center two to three hours after the crash.

Sanchez said he drank the two shots of vodka earlier in the day. Investigators found a receipt for vodka in the heavily damaged 2004 Nissan Sentra at the bottom of the cliff and a 750ml bottle of vodka in the crash debris field. There was also a prescription for Harvier for painkillers, a muscle relaxant and a seizure preventative.

Sanchez, of Los Alamos, has been released from the hospital. Harvier, of Española, was in critical condition last week, when the deputies’ reports were prepared.

First reports said that Harvier was driving but it turns out that Sanchez was, the documents said. No statements from Harvier are included in the reports filed in court so far.

Witnesses told investigators the car went straight along the highway for about 100 feet before veering and going another 100 feet to go over the cliff.

A 30-year-old Zachary Sanchez shows up in state court records with a DWI conviction in 2012 in Los Alamos and another DWI in 2009 in Albuquerque.


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