Man in RV who fled police in fatal chase indicted

Bernalillo County Sheriff’s deputies investigate a crash near Coors and Irving NW that involved several vehicles and brought to an end a citywide police chase the night of June 20. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal

Copyright © 2017 Albuquerque Journal

David Barber

A week after Tito Pacheco turned 39, he was in the hospital, fighting for his life.

Within a month, he was gone – family members made the decision to take him off life support.

Now, 40-year-old David Barber faces a murder charge in connection with Pacheco’s death after police say he led officers on a citywide chase that ended when Barber plowed into Pacheco’s vehicle on Albuquerque’s West Side on June 20.

The indictment against Barber, filed in 2nd Judicial District Court on Dec. 5, alleges he “intentionally” caused the death of Pacheco while fleeing an officer.

“Under circumstances or in a manner dangerous to human life,” the indictment reads, “the defendant intended to kill or knew that his acts created a strong probability of death.”

Police say Barber fled a North Valley home in a stolen recreational vehicle when detectives showed up to arrest him on several felony warrants. This led to an hourslong police surveillance, and eventual chase, across the city that resulted in multiple crashes involving both police and civilian vehicles, including Pacheco’s.

Along with an open count of murder, Barber faces charges including aggravated fleeing of a law enforcement officer, three counts of aggravated battery upon a peace officer with a deadly weapon, receiving or transferring stolen motor vehicles, burglary of a vehicle, criminal damage to property and leaving the scene of an accident.

Barber’s attorney declined to comment, but his mother, Teresa Perez, said all she can do is pray for her son.

Perez said her son has a past tied to selling drugs and other illicit activity. Online court records show cases against Barber dating back to the early 2000s, with charges ranging from drug trafficking and burglary to identity theft and resisting arrest.

“I try to talk to him a hundred times over,” Perez said. “I told him, ‘You’re going to hit a brick wall one day,’ and this was a horrible one, because of Mr. Pacheco. … It just kills me.”

Although Perez called Pacheco’s death a tragedy, she said “I think the police could’ve done something different” in terms of handling the chase.

Jason Bowles, an attorney for Pacheco’s family, filed a lawsuit in August against the city claiming the Pursuit Intervention Technique (PIT) maneuver used by police during the chase was “grossly negligent” and a violation of Pacheco’s civil rights.

A PIT maneuver is executed when an officer purposefully sideswipes a vehicle with the intent of stopping a chase.

Bowles said they had spoken with a variety of people who advised a PIT maneuver shouldn’t be done in high traffic areas. The PIT maneuver that ended this chase happened near Irving and Coors NW.

“It’s common sense because the car can go haywire and you can’t control where the car goes once you hit it,” he said, particularly with an RV. “It’s almost like steering a boat into a dock of people. It just makes no sense.”

The lawsuit claims police used the maneuver to stop the RV being driven by Barber, resulting in the crash that seriously injured Pacheco. He suffered six broken ribs, an injured spleen, a punctured lung, spine injures and a traumatic brain injury, according to the lawsuit.

As for Barber’s punishment, he said, that is up to the district attorney.

“The family wants justice to be done in multiple arenas, both civil and criminal,” Bowles said.

According to an obituary appearing online, Pacheco was a single father of three teenagers, grew up in Martineztown and became a carpenter who built numerous homes throughout the city.

“Tito will be missed greatly,” the obituary reads. “His words and lessons taught will never be forgotten, but imprinted in the hearts of those close to him.”

Perez said in letters from her son, Barber expresses disbelief.

“He tells me, ‘Mom, I never thought that would happen,'” she said. “They never think, ’till it’s done.”

Barber’s trial is scheduled for February 2019.

Share Your Story

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


MMA: Condit, 'Natural Born Killer,' announces retirement
Albuquerque's Carlos Condit, among the most-watched ... Albuquerque's Carlos Condit, among the most-watched and most-admired fighters in the UFC ranks for m ...
Prison gang defendant convicted of murder
ABQnews Seeker
Long-running federal racketeering case ends for ... Long-running federal racketeering case ends for Syndicato de Nuevo Mexico
Rio Rancho theater group finally premieres 'Our Town'
ABQnews Seeker
Pandemic interrupted debut of the new ... Pandemic interrupted debut of the new troupe
20th century heavyweight: Ken Burns documentary looks into life ...
Ken Burns is one who stays ... Ken Burns is one who stays busy.During the pandemic, the acclaimed filmmaker was worki ...
Editorial: State-run prisons are a smart but costly course ...
Staffing prisons is often tough. So ... Staffing prisons is often tough. So it was hoped during the administration of former Gov. Gary Johns ...
Judge rejects challenge to NM vaccine mandate
From the newspaper
Ruling marks the latest legal victory ... Ruling marks the latest legal victory for Gov. Lujan Grisham
A makeover for APS board: No incumbents running this ...
ABQnews Seeker
Influential local commercial real estate group ... Influential local commercial real estate group backing three candidates on the Nov. 2 ballot
'Ready to take on the world': Ivory Coast singer-songwriter ...
Albuquerque News
Fely Tchaco was influenced by music ... Fely Tchaco was influenced by music at an early age.For African women, singing can be ...
Actress jumped at the chance to star with Clint ...
Fernanda Urrejola jumped at the opportunity ... Fernanda Urrejola jumped at the opportunity to work on "Cry Macho."Not only did the st ...