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Police: Mom says she didn’t know she left toddler on interstate

Georgette Vigil, center, accused in a criminal complaint of leaving the scene after her 2-year-old daughter was ejected from her car after it crashed, stands with her public defender during a video court appearance Thursday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Georgette Vigil, center, accused in a criminal complaint of leaving the scene after her 2-year-old daughter was ejected from her car after it crashed, stands with her public defender during a video court appearance Thursday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Georgette Vigil, accused of driving away after her toddler flew out of her car in a crash on the freeway earlier this week, drank a pint of vodka before getting into the vehicle with her 2-year-old and 4-year-old, according to police records released Thursday.

Later, Vigil gave police conflicting reports about what happened, but at one point she said she wasn’t aware her daughter was missing until her 4-year-old told her that her little sister wasn’t in the car anymore.

“Georgette told me that she was ‘almost home’ at that point so she continued to her house,” an officer wrote in a criminal complaint filed Thursday.

Georgette Vigil, 36. (MDC)

GEORGETTE VIGIL (MDC)

The crash happened Monday when Vigil slammed into an Interstate 40 barrier so hard that her bumper fell off and her 2-year-old was thrown out of the car’s window.

And what was most unbelievable to responding officers was that instead of stopping for the toddler, Vigil allegedly drove home, leaving the girl on the side of the interstate.

When asked why she left her child on the road, Vigil said, “To tell you the truth, I really don’t know. I wanted to get home.”

Many people who saw the crash Monday stopped to help the child, and one man – a retired State Police officer – followed Vigil to her apartment on Kentucky SE. When Albuquerque police officers caught up with her, lapel footage shows they seemed to be in disbelief, repeatedly asking her why she left her child on the freeway.

The footage shows her sobbing through some of the interview and asking officers if the child is OK.

“I knew I was doing wrong,” she said. “I did wrong. I drank. And she wasn’t in the car.”

The criminal complaint says officers arrived at the crash site that evening and found the child who had been ejected still strapped into her car seat. She was bleeding from her head and arms, according to 911 calls, but was not seriously injured.

“The child that had been ejected from the vehicle … suffered a large and deep scrape across her forehead as well as several scratches and abrasions to her extremities that were embedded with tar and debris from the roadway,” an officer wrote in the complaint.

Police initially reported that the girl is 18 months old, but the complaint says she is 2.

The rear bumper of the car was still at the scene and had the license plate attached. The car was registered to Vigil.

When Albuquerque police arrived at her home they found Vigil with a large cut on her head. Her 4-year-old was crying and had some minor injuries.

Vigil was taken to the hospital, where she told officers she had been drinking vodka and had been driving from a dollar store when she lost control of her car. In lapel footage, she says the child “flew out” of the car. But according to the complaint, she later told officers she didn’t realize the child was gone until the 4-year-old told her that her sister wasn’t in the car anymore.

Albuquerque police spokesman Tanner Tixier said Thursday that a blood technician was dispatched to the hospital to take a blood sample from Vigil, but he didn’t know if Vigil agreed to let the technician take the sample.

Vigil was booked into jail around 10 p.m. Wednesday, and made her first appearance in front of a judge on Thursday afternoon.

Metropolitan Court Judge John Duran set Georgette Vigil's bond at $30,000 cash or surety in a court hearing Thursday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Metropolitan Court Judge John Duran set Georgette Vigil’s bond at $30,000 cash or surety in a court hearing Thursday. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Metropolitan Court Judge John Duran set her bond at $30,000 cash or surety, meaning she would have to pay $3,000 to get out of jail. He said she was a flight risk.

“I will note she tried to flee the situation,” he said before handing down his decision.

Her public defender argued that no bond should be required, because she has no known criminal history in Albuquerque.

But she has faced previous charges in Santa Fe.

According to online records from the Santa Fe County jail, she was charged with public drunkenness, reckless endangering, child abuse and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in 2012, and public drunkenness in 2009.

The cases were handled by the tribal court system, and their outcomes were not immediately determined.

JAMES MOQUINO

JAMES MOQUINO

The cases were not considered in court Thursday, because the state had not verified them.

Vigil was still in jail Thursday night. Tixier said officers are searching for James Moquino, who they say was also in the car and fled when it crashed.

Vigil told officers that he is her cousin and was wanted by the U.S. Marshals Service.

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