Family, friends and fans are mourning Albuquerque-based hip-hop artist Wake Self, who died early Tuesday from injuries suffered in a vehicular crash Sunday night in northwest Santa Fe.
Police believe the crash was caused by a drunken driver traveling in the wrong lane of West Alameda Street at a high rate of speed.
Andrew Martinez, 30, who performed as Wake Self, was scheduled to attend a release party Thursday at Meow Wolf for his new album, Ready to Live. Organizers canceled the event. He also was scheduled to perform Saturday in Taos, according to The Taos News.
Following Sunday’s crash, police charged Diego Alejandro Pichardo, 24, of Santa Fe with aggravated driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license from a previous DWI charge and two counts of causing great bodily harm while under the influence — charges stemming from injuries to Martinez and his passenger, a 28-year-old Santa Fe man. In the wake of Martinez’s death, Pichardo could face a charge of vehicular homicide, a Santa Fe police spokesman said Tuesday.
Records show Pichardo has been arrested on previous DWI charges as recently as June. A warrant was issued for his arrest in October on violations of the terms of his electronic alcohol monitoring device, according to court records. Pichardo surrendered to the Santa Fe County Magistrate Court two days before the crash, and the warrant was canceled.
Martinez’s brother, Eric Martinez, said in a Facebook post that the artist died at 2:48 a.m. Tuesday. Information about services will be posted later, he said.
“Please remember what he stood for. Remember him at his best,” Eric Martinez wrote, adding, “Rest easy now little bro.”
Family members did not return calls to comment on Andrew Martinez’s death. A friend of the family said they would provide a statement at a later time.
Meow Wolf offered its event space for a future memorial concert for Martinez. A statement on the company’s website said, “Our hearts pour out to the family and friends of Andrew Martinez, aka Wake Self. A native New Mexican, Andrew was a monumental force of positivity in the hip-hop scene and one of Meow Wolf’s most frequent performers. His energy will forever reverberate within the walls of our venue space.”
Martinez’s Wake Self social media accounts were flooded Tuesday with people offering condolences and words of support for the hip-hop artist, who rapped about gender, race and other social justice issues. Many of the photos posted on the sites show him at local protests or spending time with kids, often flashing a peace sign.
Martinez spoke with Generation Justice — an Albuquerque-based youth media project that teaches kids to talk about issues such as racial justice using video and radio — in a Sunday afternoon interview with 13-year-old Emilio Bauvallet.
In the interview, which focused on his new album, Martinez discussed his background — being born and raised in Roswell and living in Albuquerque for the past 10 years — and how he was introduced to the hip-hop scene through meetups with graffiti artists, dancers and other performers.
“Some people, [hip-hop] is the only thing we have to explore our culture, personal heritage, explore our issues — you know, feel like we belong,” Martinez said.
He released his first album, The Healing Process, in 2013. He had said the new album tipped its hat to The Notorious B.I.G.’s album Ready to Die, but Martinez said he was driven to give a positive message.
“I used to be more about being real lyrical and all that, but now I’m about making songs that can have a different type of energy,” he said.
Generation Justice pays tribute to Martinez on its website. “Remember Wake Self,” a post says. “Andrew was light. He was love. His message and voice can move mountains.”
A police report on the crash said officers responded to a call about the collision just before 10 p.m. at Camino Alire and West Alameda Street. Police said Pichardo, who was driving a black Chevy truck, had struck Martinez’s silver Ford sedan, trapping him and his passenger inside. Pichardo was ejected from his truck, according to the report.
A witness told officers he had seen Pichardo driving 60 mph on the wrong side of West Alameda in a 35 mph zone. The witness said he had seen the lights from Pichardo’s truck pop into the air, as if he had hit something.
Officers found Pichardo on the ground, the report said, adding he smelled of alcohol and had bloodshot, watery eyes and was shouting that his hips and legs hurt.
Pichardo and the two men in the Ford were taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center for treatment.
Doctors told police Martinez had a pulmonary contusion, a smashed pelvis, a head injury, lung injuries and fractured femurs, ribs and a wrist, the report said. His passenger suffered lung injuries and broken bones. There was no update Tuesday on the Santa Fe man’s condition.
As of Tuesday evening, Pichardo had not been booked into the Santa Fe County jail. He was admitted to the hospital for fractures to his left elbow and pelvis.
Greg Gurulé, a spokesman for the Santa Fe Police Department, said Pichardo could be charged with vehicular homicide, but investigators first have to examine evidence and determine the cause of Martinez’s death.
“Santa Fe police investigators are looking at the case before making that decision,” Gurulé said. He said he did not know when a decision would be made.
Pichardo’s history of DWI arrests dates to at least Dec. 2, 2017, when Albuquerque police pulled him over on suspicion of driving 15 mph in a 25 mph zone, according to court documents. The arresting officer reported Pichardo had bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol; he also performed poorly on field sobriety tests, the report said.
He was arrested on a charge of DWI, but prosecutors dropped the case in October 2018 after a defense attorney said the state had lost video of the incident from a camera on the officer’s belt.
On June 22, Pichardo was arrested in Santa Fe. Police responding to a report that a black Chevy truck had collided with a guardrail near the Regal Santa Fe Stadium on Zafarano Drive found him asleep in the driver’s seat of his truck, which was parked in the lot nearby.
Officers found open containers in the truck and said Pichardo’s breath smelled of alcohol, he stumbled when he walked and was told multiple times to stop pushing an officer, according to a police report.
Pichardo was charged with aggregated driving under the influence and concealing his identity.
According to court documents, Pichardo violated the terms of his electronic monitoring device in September. Offenders ordered to use the device receive text messages when they are expected to blow into the device and the blood-alcohol content results are wirelessly submitted to a monitoring website.
Pichardo missed two tests Sept. 27 and had a blood-alcohol content of 0.85 in a Sept. 28 test — both violations of the agreement. A warrant was issued for his arrest on the violations, and Pichardo turned himself in Friday, but does not appear to have been arrested.
Police reports from Sunday’s crash said when officers interviewed Pichardo in the hospital, he said he had blown into the electronic monitoring device before the crash, around 8:30 p.m., and that it was still in his truck.