A state senator charged with driving while intoxicated following a vehicle crash in Española late Friday night twice changed his story about how much alcohol he consumed and refused to take a Breathalyzer test, according to a police report released Sunday evening.
Sen. Richard Martinez, D-Española, initially told an Española police officer he drank “one or two beers,” then altered his statement to say he consumed up to three beers before ultimately saying he “actually drank three glasses of wine,” the report says.
Police said Saturday that they thought Martinez, 66, was the driver of a vehicle that rear-ended another vehicle carrying two people around 10:20 p.m. Friday as he was driving his 2010 SUV near Paseo de Oñate and Fairview Lane.
According to the report, when a police officer approached Martinez’s vehicle, he could smell alcohol and noticed the longtime legislator had “blood shot watery eyes and a slurred speech.” Martinez told the officer he was traveling from town and that he had one or two beers before driving. Later, in an ambulance, he increased that count to “two couple beers, like two or three” before recanting that statement and saying he drank three glasses of wine, the report says.
The officer then demonstrated a finger dexterity exercise and asked Martinez to repeat it. The officer reported Martinez was “unable to perform the test as explained and demonstrated.” Asked to count backward from 31 to 14, the senator was “unable to perform the test as requested,” the report says.
Police and emergency medical personnel transported the senator and the two people in the other vehicle to a local hospital. The driver of the other vehicle told police he had stopped for a red light at the intersection when he heard the sound of screeching tires and saw a flash of light behind him just before the vehicle in question hit his car.
When the police officer informed Martinez he was being placed under arrest, the senator replied, “Are you serious, Jesus Christ.”
Martinez was treated and released from the hospital and transferred to the Española Holding Facility, where he was booked and charged with aggravated driving under the influence and reckless driving. He later was released.
Española Police Department spokesman Jeremy Apodaca said Sunday evening he did not know what Martinez’s bail was set at or whether the motorists in the other vehicle had been released from the hospital.
An online search of court records does not reveal any previous drunken-driving or criminal charges against Martinez, a former Rio Arriba County magistrate.
Martinez, who has served as a lawmaker since 2001, serves on several legislative committees, including the Courts, Corrections and Justice Committee and the Criminal Justice Reform Committee. He would be up for reelection in November 2020 should he declare his intention to run again for the seat.
Martinez, a native of Española, did not return a call left on his voice mail seeking comment Sunday.
According to the police report, the officers took photographs and body camera video of the incident.