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Driver enters guilty plea in fatal crash near Pojoaque

SANTA FE — A young Española man who caused a fatal crash near Pojoaque nearly two years ago accepted a plea deal Wednesday that exposes him to up to eight years in prison.

Elias Arrellano, 20, pleaded guilty to one count of homicide by vehicle and one count of great bodily harm by vehicle in District Court Wednesday and faces between three and eight years of prison time. He is expected to be sentenced in October or November.

Elias Arrellano

The Santa Fe District Attorneys Office dropped one count of great bodily injury by vehicle, one count of child abuse resulting in great bodily harm and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving in exchange for the plea.

Prosecutor Blake Nichols said Arellano was driving northbound on U.S. 84/285 near the Buffalo Thunder Casino and Resort on Oct. 13, 2017 in a Chrysler Sebring while weaving in and out of traffic at high speed and tailgating other cars.

He eventually lost control, crossed over the center median and hit Lucy and Robert Fresques’ car head on.

Lucy Fresques, 71, died at a hospital while Robert Freques sustained serious injuries.

Arellano and his 14-year-old passenger, Gregory Naranjo, were ejected from the Sebring. Naranjo was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital with a head injury and was in “super critical condition” after the crash, according to a court document.

The crash also caused people in a Volkswagen Jetta that was also on the road to receive minor injuries.

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