Police say alcohol factor in crash that killed two, injured seven - Albuquerque Journal

Police say alcohol factor in crash that killed two, injured seven

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Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

A night out turned deadly early Sunday morning for a group of 16- to 20-year-olds who crammed into a Nissan Altima, sped up University and lost control of the vehicle.

Two passengers were killed and the driver and six others inside the car were injured when it rolled and then crashed into a concrete pillar under Interstate 40, said Rebecca Atkins, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department. Investigators believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

That driver and four of his passengers were in critical condition, Atkins said.

The crash brought an end to what Albuquerque police believe was a lawless night for the group. Atkins said the black Altima was tied to a series of 911 calls before the crash, including a hit-and-run near Lead and Pine SE and the beating of a homeless man at a Denny’s restaurant in Northeast Albuquerque.

In a news release, she said that in addition to alcohol, speed and the fact that nine people were packed into the mid-size sedan were factors in the crash, which occurred before 3 a.m.

Atkins told the Journal those in the vehicle ranged in age from 16 to 20.

Officers determined that the car was speeding northbound on University. As it approached the eastbound Interstate 40 Frontage Road, the driver lost control, and the car “began to travel sideways,” Atkins said.

“The vehicle then rolled and impacted the concrete pillar of the interstate,” she said.

Albuquerque Fire Rescue crews were dispatched to the crash at around 2:50 a.m. and were at the scene within minutes, the agency said.

First responders found multiple people trapped inside.

“Albuquerque Fire Rescue responded and were able to extricate all individuals from within,” Atkins said. She said two people died at the scene.

Four people were transported to University of New Mexico Hospital, one to Lovelace and two others were taken to Presbyterian Hospital.

Atkins said five of the vehicle’s occupants were in critical condition as of Sunday, two of them intubated. Two other passengers sustained minor injuries.

AFR helped officers determine who was driving, and investigators obtained a search warrant for his blood, she said. Those toxicology results were still pending.

Timeline released

Atkins, in a Sunday evening update, said investigators determined the occupants of the Nissan Altima “may have been involved in three other incidents prior to the crash.”

Shortly after 2 a.m. officers were dispatched to a large party at 1513 Lead SE, between Maple and Ash.

“Neighbors reported several individuals who were drinking, arguing and fighting, and carrying guns,” Atkins said in the release. She added that as officers were approaching the party they saw a black sedan – with the same license plate number as the Altima – flee the area.

Moments later, the same Altima was involved in a hit-and-run crash near Lead and Pine.

“The Altima crashed into another vehicle and fled the scene,” Atkins said.

Then at 2:39 p.m. someone called 911 to report that a group of teens beat a homeless man with a pole at the Denny’s at 2400 San Mateo NE, just north of I-40. It’s unclear if the man was seriously injured.

“A witness said two teenage males assaulted the man, and a group of about nine teens fled the area” in a black, four-door sedan, Atkins said.

The Altima crashed on University less than 15 minutes later, police said.

No charges have yet been filed in the hit-and-run or the beating, but police continue to investigate the cases.

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