ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Almost a year after a 12-year-old girl was hit and killed as she crossed the street outside her middle school, the driver has been charged with careless driving, a traffic code misdemeanor.
A grand jury handed up the indictment on Monday, charging 76-year-old Revi Pexa in the crash that took the life of Eliza Almuina outside Cleveland Middle School on March 22.
Court records state that Pexa drove in a “careless, inattentive or imprudent” manner at the time of the crash. If found guilty, he could face a fine of up to $300, imprisonment for not more than 90 days or both.
In what police called a “tragic accident,” Pexa hit Almuina as she crossed Louisiana with a friend. A vehicle paused at the crosswalk to allow the girls to pass and Pexa, who was in the right lane, didn’t see them and hit Almuina as she passed the stopped car.
“It ends up being a careless driving, horrible accident, but it wasn’t reckless,” said Michael Patrick of the 2nd Judicial District Attorney’s Office. “He wasn’t doing it with intent.”
He said, through a lengthy investigation, it was discovered Pexa was going 2 mph over the 35 mph speed limit when he swerved into the right lane to avoid hitting a car stopped in the left lane.
Patrick said the case went to a grand jury due to Almuina’s death.
The fatal crash prompted the city to redesign the crosswalk in hopes of preventing future collisions, while pushing the City Council to take a closer look at other school crosswalks.
It also resulted in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Almuina’s family.