Mother grieves loss of teenage daughter killed in hit-and-run - Albuquerque Journal

Mother grieves loss of teenage daughter killed in hit-and-run

The memorial for 17-year-old Angelique Nevaeh Tenorio, who authorities say was killed by a drunken driver after a Halloween party in Southeast Albuquerque on Oct. 30. The memorial is at Coconino Rd and Pike, the street where she was run over that night. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)
Angelique Tenorio (Courtesy of the Tenorio family)

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

Rena Tenorio didn’t know Oct. 29 would be the last day she would spend with her teenage daughter.

She recalled having a weird feeling throughout the day.

“That day was crazy because everything went so smooth, the way everything happened,” Tenorio said, adding that even a usual frenetic trip to the mall seemed to fly by.

Tenorio spent the morning helping her 17-year-old daughter, Angelique, choose a pair of boots to complete a police officer costume she had planned to wear later that night to a Halloween party. She said Angelique was so proud to be able to buy an entire Halloween costume on her own thanks to the money she was making at her part-time job at Whataburger.

Hours later, Tenorio was grieving the loss of her only daughter – killed by a suspected drunken driver in the early morning of Oct. 30.

Asher Frank, 17, is charged with vehicular homicide and aggravated DWI in connection with her death.

Angelique is one of many victims of pedestrian fatalities in the state this year. The New Mexico Department of Transportation has recorded 76 pedestrian fatalities so far this year, and 16 of them happened during October. The state is also ranked No. 2 in the nation for per-capita pedestrian deaths; for years it has been ranked in the top five.

Tenorio, who comes from Santo Domingo Pueblo, said she and Angelique had a special relationship.

“She was so respectful. Since she was little, I used to get compliments about how respectful she was.”

Tenorio now spends much of her time attending court hearings in what she believes is a fruitless attempt to get justice for Angelique.

Since Frank is a minor, he faces a maximum of two years commitment at the Youth Diagnostic and Detention Center if found guilty, according to a spokesperson from the District Attorney’s Office. A pretrial conference is scheduled for Dec. 13.

That’s a sentence Tenorio believes is too short for the loss she has suffered.

According to Albuquerque police, a red Mustang was driving east on Coconino SE with the hood up at about 3 a.m. on Oct. 30. Its driver, who police later identified as Frank, struck Angelique Tenorio as she was walking in the roadway. According to police, Frank dragged her for about 400 feet under his car. He then fled the scene but was later found by officers.

Angelique was transported to a nearby hospital and was pronounced dead from her injuries at around 3:30 a.m., according to a police report. The report also states Frank’s vehicle had damage consistent with Angelique’s injuries.

Frank was booked into the Bernalillo County Juvenile Detention Center later that morning.

Christina Cavaleri, Frank’s attorney, said Frank disputes the charges.

“We don’t have a lot of information about what happened that night,” Cavaleri said in an interview. “… He has denied the allegations.”

The intersection of Coconino and Pike SE, where Angelique Tenorio was struck by a hit-and-run driver, according to police. (Chancey Bush/Albuquerque Journal)

That Saturday, Oct. 29, Angelique attended the Halloween party in the 11200 block of Coconino SE with some of her friends. Tenorio said she drove her daughter and a friend to the party. “All she wanted to do was go out and have fun for Halloween and now I can’t even see her,” Tenorio said.

Tenorio said she waited up for hours that night as time went by without receiving a call from Angelique to pick her up.

“I must have known something was wrong or something because it was 3 in the morning and I’m just staying up,” Tenorio said. As Tenorio was about to go for a drive to ease her nerves while she waited, she received a hysterical call from one of her daughter’s friends. Angelique had been hit by a car.

She said she still remembers the confusion of the next few hours as she arrived at the scene in front of the house where the party was held. Several friends told Tenorio that Angelique was injured when hit by a car. When Tenorio arrived at the hospital, she was shocked to hear her daughter was gone. She hoped they were lying to her.

“I was waiting for a doctor to confirm it was my daughter to her dad because he didn’t want to believe me. I can’t blame him, I didn’t want to believe it either,” Tenorio said.

Angelique was a bright source of inspiration to those around her, Tenorio said. She was in her junior year of high school taking dual-credit classes at Central New Mexico Community College. By the time she graduated, Angelique would have been able to start her own eyelash extension business.

“She was pure, and she heard it from all the other teenagers; she was just so uplifting,” Tenorio said.

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