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Drunken driver who killed cyclist in ’05 suspected of 7th DWI

SANTA FE – A Santa Fe man out of prison for less than three months after spending a decade behind bars for killing a female bicyclist while driving drunk in 2005 was arrested again over the weekend on suspicion of his seventh DWI offense.

SOLANO: Served a decade behind bars for the 2005 death of a cyclist he hit while driving drunk

SOLANO: Served a decade behind bars for the 2005 death of a cyclist he hit while driving drunk

Santa Fe County deputies pulled over Tim Solano, 45, in the Eldorado area east of Santa Fe around 4:30 p.m. Saturday after a caller reported that a truck had hit a vehicle in the caller’s driveway and left the scene.

The woman reporting the crash said the driver, later identified as Solano, appeared to be highly intoxicated, according to an incident report from the Sheriff’s Office.

In 2005, Solano was sentenced to 12 years in prison, followed by two years of probation, for pleading guilty to killing 58-year-old cyclist Judith Scassera-Cinciripini on July 27 of that year on Old Santa Fe Trail. Sobriety tests showed that, in that case, Solano had a blood alcohol content of 0.24 or 0.25 percent, three times the presumed level of intoxication.

Then-District Court Judge Michael Vigil required Solano to serve 85 percent of his sentence before he became eligible for parole. On Monday, Corrections Adult Prison Division Director Jerry Roark confirmed Solano was released from state custody on Sept. 23 under two years of supervised probation.

At Solano’s 2005 sentencing hearing, Domenico Cinciripini, widower of the bicyclist who was killed, told Solano’s parents that their son is a “real man” for standing up and pleading guilty to vehicular homicide. “I hope that your son is able to learn not to drink anymore and drive,” Cinciripini told Solano’s parents outside the courtroom.

On Saturday, a deputy tried to pull over Solano’s silver Chevrolet pickup, but Solano kept driving for another one-eighth of a mile and didn’t pull over until the deputy turned on his siren.

Police noticed a strong odor of alcohol from Solano and said he had bloodshot and watery eyes. Solano initially told deputies he’d had nothing to drink, but then said he had two beers 18 hours before being stopped. He was arrested after failing several field sobriety tests, and breath tests later showed he a BAC of 0.21 or 0.22 percent.

Deputies found two miniature liquor bottles in his shirt and seven other unopened miniatures in his truck.

After Solano’s arrest, a witness told investigators that he had seen Solano apparently passed out at the Phillips 66 gas station on Colina Drive in Eldorado, with his head on the steering wheel and the horn blaring. The man said he knocked on Solano’s window and said, “You cannot be driving. Do you agree that you are drunk?” Solano said he did agree and started following the man to park at the Agave Grocery Store, but the witness said then Solano turned away and headed north on U.S. 285.

Under terms of his probation, Solano was not permitted to drink alcohol or enter a bar or lounge that serves alcohol and was required to complete a long-term alcohol treatment program.

In July 2005, Scassera-Cinciripini was riding her bike after work before Solano, headed the opposite direction, drove across the center line, across the other traffic lane and partly onto the shoulder before he struck her head-on. Scassera-Cinciripini, who was survived by her twin daughters and husband of 31 years, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Scassera-Cinciripini’s death sparked concern over DWI issues and cyclist safety in Santa Fe. Solano also had seriously injured another woman in another DWI crash in 1999.

Solano has a pending civil suit related to his conditions of confinement against Penitentiary of New Mexico warden German Franco. Tim Solano is not related to former Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano.

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