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NMSP: Suspected drunken driver arrested after fatal crash in southern NM

Ruben Rojas, 63 (DACDC)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A woman is dead and two other people are in the hospital after a suspected drunken driver crashed into their truck Thursday night on the side of the highway near Vado, according to New Mexico State Police.

NMSP spokesman Dusty Francisco said Ruben Rojas, 63, was heading east on Interstate 10 around 11 p.m. when “for unknown reasons” he crashed into a truck and an unoccupied car parked on the shoulder, killing Michelle Cuaron, 57, and injuring two of her passengers.

The spokesman did not give the condition of the other two people injured.

“The vehicles were on the shoulder parked waiting for a tow truck,” Francisco said. “Alcohol does appear to be a contributing factor to the crash.”

Rojas was booked into Doña Ana County  jail on charges of homicide by vehicle, two counts of great bodily harm by vehicle, aggravated DWI, open container and expired driver’s license.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Magistrate Court, Rojas had slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and smelled like alcohol when officers found him in his truck.

When asked what happened, Rojas told police he “did not remember” and he “possibly fell asleep.”

“He stated he was just driving around and he got lost,” an officer wrote.

Police say Rojas admitted to drinking some beers before the crash and performed poorly on sobriety tests.

“The crash is still under investigation and no additional information is available at this time,” Francisco said.

According to the court database, this is Rojas second aggravated DWI and open container arrest.

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