The Taos News

TAOS — A 21-year-old La Puebla man is accused of leaving the scene of a rollover crash that ejected and killed one of his passengers early Thursday morning at Taos Junction Bridge.

Andrew Lopez has been charged with homicide by vehicle and other counts related to the crash.

Lopez was driving around 1:15 a.m. Thursday on N.M. 570 near the bridge, which crosses the Rio Grande by the Orilla Verde Recreation Area, when his vehicle rolled and a 36-year-old man from Española was ejected and killed, Taos County Sheriff Jerry Hogrefe said in a news release. A crash investigation determined the passenger was not wearing a seat belt, the sheriff said. He had not yet released the name of the victim.

Three juveniles were also riding in the vehicle and suffered minor injuries.

Hogrefe said Lopez “initially left the scene but was soon located.”

“He was detained, treated at Holy Cross [Medical Center], and later arrested and charged with homicide by vehicle due to impairment, as well as other charges,” the sheriff said.

Hogrefe said his office was able to gain approval for a search warrant to determine Lopez was impaired at the time of the crash. “Speed and alcohol are contributing factors in this crash,” he said.

This story first appeared in The Taos News, a sister publication of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

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