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Driver in wrong-way crash named, charged with aggravated DWI

SANTA FE, N.M. — A suspected wrong way, drunk driver who is accused of crashing head-on into another vehicle on I-25 near St Francis Drive just before 8 p.m. Wednesday has been charged with aggravated DWI.

Joe Salazar

Joe Salazar

Joe Salazar, 52, is also charged with having an open container inside the vehicle and reckless driving, said a Santa Fe Police Department news release.

Investigators found an empty bottle of vodka in Salazar’s Dodge Stratus and “think he was drunk when he caused the head-on crash,” the release said. Investigators have not confirmed that the vodka bottle was consumed on the evening of the crash or before.

Salazar was seriously injured and will be booked on the charges when he is released from the hospital. Salazar is accused of driving south in the northbound lanes when he crashed into a truck carrying three people, injuring them.

The three are: two men ages 31 and 39, from Espanola and Rowe respectively and a woman, 43, from Pecos. They have all been released from the hospital, according to the release. Their names are not currently available.

Salazar was arrested in 2012 on assault charges, police said.

“It was a pretty horrific crash, a high speed crash that was head-on,” said Santa Fe Emergency Manager Andrew Phelps.

Photo Courtesy KOAT-TV

Photo Courtesy KOAT-TV

Photo Courtesy KOAT-TV

Photo Courtesy KOAT-TV

SANTA FE (AP) — Northbound Interstate 25 reopened in Santa Fe early today following a three-vehicle collision that officials said was caused when a vehicle went the wrong way.

According to officials, the accident occurred Wednesday evening near St. Francis Road. The northbound lanes of I-25 were reopened about seven hours later.

At least four people were transported to a hospital.

The Santa Fe police department’s DWI team was dispatched to the accident site, and city emergency manager Andrew Phelps said it was suspected that alcohol was involved in the crash.

Traffic was diverted onto St. Francis Road during the closure.

Head-on crash on I-25 injures four

Journal staff and wire reports

What police described as a possible drunken driver caused a head-on collision on Interstate 25 near Santa Fe around 8 p.m. Wednesday.

A Santa Fe police spokeswoman said the driver was a 52-year-old Santa Fe man whose Dodge Stratus crashed into a truck carrying three people – two men and a woman. All four were taken to the hospital. The injuries were serious but not fatal, police spokeswoman Celina Westervelt said.

The Dodge driver was headed south in the northbound lanes.

Westervelt said State Police received a call that a car was traveling erratically near the San Felipe exit before the crash.

The crash occurred near the St. Francis exit. Late Wednesday night, the northbound lanes were closed.