APD: Reported drug dispute led to man being fatally run over - Albuquerque Journal

APD: Reported drug dispute led to man being fatally run over

Ruben Tafoya (MDC)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

A man accused of intentionally running over and killing another man in an East Central motel parking lot Friday morning told police the incident was sparked by a bad drug deal.

Ruben Tafoya, 57, is charged with an open count of murder in the death of Arthur Lopez, whose age was not available.

Tafoya was booked into the Metropolitan Detention Center early Saturday. It was unclear whether he has an attorney.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court:

Police responded around 8 a.m. to the Bow and Arrow Lodge on Central, near Wyoming, after a 911 caller reported a driver hitting someone in the parking lot. Officers found Lopez’s body near the front of a green Toyota in the parking lot and detained Tafoya as he tried to flee.

A witness told police he was driving on Central when he saw Lopez running on the sidewalk and a car chasing him. He said the driver struck Lopez in the parking lot.

The witness told police Lopez got back up before the driver hit him again, leaving him trapped under the car. Another witness said the driver got out and kicked and punched Lopez as he was trapped under the car before fleeing the scene as the sound of sirens drew closer.

The manager of the Bow and Arrow Lodge told police she and her husband had gone outside after hearing a commotion and saw Lopez trapped under the car. The manager’s husband took pictures of the driver after he got out of the car and showed them to police.

Tafoya told police that he had met a man named Mike outside the methadone clinic and that they went to a convenience store on East Central to buy drugs. He said the two gave Lopez money for drugs but he left the area and they confronted him near the Bow and Arrow Lodge.

Tafoya told police Mike was driving and struck Lopez with the car. He said Mike left as he tried to get the car off Lopez with a wooden plank and asked those at the motel for help.

Police said Tafoya – who was identified as the driver by witnesses – gave a vague description of Mike and could not give them any information on him aside from the name.


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