ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A man who admitted fleeing the scene of a wreck that seriously injured an off-duty police officer will spend seven months in jail after a Bernalillo County judge handed down a decision he said would “probably make everybody mad.”
In an agreement with the District Attorney’s Office, Thomas Stavros, 23, pleaded guilty to one felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. Prosecutors agreed to drop two charges, and to cap his sentence at 18 months.
According to police, Stavros’ red Buick merged into Raymond Loomis’ motorcycle as both vehicles traveled west on Interstate 40 near Coors in February 2015. Stavros briefly pulled over before leaving the area. Loomis, who worked for the Albuquerque Police Department for 33 years, was seriously injured. Stavros was not intoxicated at the time, according to his attorney.
Judge Charles Brown said that with good time and credit for the months Stavros already spent in jail on the case, even the maximum 18-month sentence would allow Stavros to be released within three or four months.
“I’m gonna do something in this case which is going to probably make everybody mad,” Brown said. “I’m OK with that.”
He rescheduled the sentencing hearing for June 19 and ordered that Stavros be held until then in the county jail. Brown said he believed that the penitentiary was the “worst place anybody can be.”
“That’s longer than he would actually be in custody if I sentenced him to the Department of Corrections,” Brown said.
Brown said that at sentencing in seven months he intends to grant Stavros a conditional discharge.
“I’m going to put him in custody for the time warranted under the plea agreement,” Brown said, “and still give you the shot at the future you say you deserve.”
Members of his family sobbed as a courthouse security officer placed Stavros in handcuffs.
“It appears that he had a panic moment, thought, ‘What have I done?’ got stupid and ran,” Brown said.
Stavros told the judge that he thinks constantly of Loomis and prays for his recovery and forgiveness. He offered to help the family in any way he can.
“I wish I could switch places with him,” he said. “I want him to know this really was an accident.”
Loomis and his wife, Lorrie Loomis, described the impact the wreck has had on their lives. Lorrie Loomis said her husband lost hearing in one ear and suffered vision loss. The couple are facing massive medical bills on a reduced income, because Lorrie had to quit her job.
Raymond Loomis constantly feels dizzy and unbalanced. He misses working as a police officer, being able to drive and riding his motorcycle.
“I enjoyed my time as a police officer and being a motorcycle officer,” he said. “Those days are fun to think about, but they’re gone.”