Suspect In Fatal OWI Crash Appears In Court

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Police say a 19-year-old who ran a red light and crashed into another driver in the Northeast Heights earlier this month was driving at almost 100 mph – more than twice the posted speed limit.

Casino Salazar, 19 (MDC)

The other driver, 58-year-old Kevin Barton, was killed, and five other people, including the suspect, were injured.

Casino Salazar of Roswell is charged with vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and other crimes. He was released from the University of New Mexico Hospital five days after the crash and booked into the county jail. Prosecutors have asked that he be held pending trial.

It’s unclear who his attorney is, and his mother did not respond to a request for comment.

Rebecca Atkins, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department, said that when officers executed a search warrant on Salazar’s SUV, they found three Glock handguns, one 1911 handgun, one AR-15 rifle, one AK-47 rifle, ammunition and 185 grams of THC wax.

She said officers downloaded data from Salazar’s vehicle and found he was traveling 96 mph in a 40-mph zone.

Around 9 p.m. Nov. 20, officers were called to Montgomery and Morris NE for a crash involving two vehicles.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court, Salazar was driving west on Montgomery in a Chevrolet SUV when he ran a red light and crashed into Barton’s silver GMC as it turned north onto Morris NE.

Barton died at the scene. His wife posted on Nextdoor that he was driving with his three dogs to get dinner.

Two of the dogs were found right away, but the third, Otis, was missing a couple of days.

A witness told police he had made eye contact with a driver – later identified as Salazar – when they were both stopped at a light. He said that when the light turned green, Salazar “took off at a high rate of speed swerving in and out of his lane.”

He said he saw Salazar run the red light at Montgomery and Morris and crash into Barton’s car. The witness said Salazar appeared to be intoxicated.

From the hospital, the four passengers in Salazar’s car told officers that they were on the way to pick up a female friend and that Salazar was driving.

The officer said Salazar appeared to have bloodshot, watery eyes, smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech, and that there were several containers of liquor in the car, along with firearms and cannabis.

Salazar denied drinking and refused to take a field sobriety test, so a warrant was obtained to draw his blood.

Police say it was the second time Salazar had crashed while driving drunk that week.

Four days earlier, on Nov. 16, he was arrested in Roswell after an officer said he saw a speeding vehicle go into the air and roll on its side through three yards before coming to a stop.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Chaves County Magistrate Court, a man – later identified as Salazar – ran from the crash and away from police.

When officers finally took him into custody, Salazar “had an odor of alcohol, bloodshot, watery eyes, and slurred speech. The subject was not wearing shoes and had $4,330 on his person.”

Officers also found two handguns and several shell casings in the car, according to the complaint. A breath test determined Salazar had a blood alcohol content of 0.12, which is above the presumed level of intoxication.

Prosecutors mentioned the earlier case in their motion asking that Salazar be held behind bars.

“Despite the conditions of release he had agreed to abide by, and despite the fact that he had just recently been arrested for DWI, the defendant chose to drive under the influence again,” the prosecutor wrote. “This time, he killed someone. It is clear that he has no regard for the safety of others and does not value human life.”

Source : https://www.abqjournal.com/2450245/police-say-driver-in-fatal-dwi-crash-was-driving-100-mph.html

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