A Santa Fe mural artist injured in a Sunday night crash on West Alameda Street, which led to the death of his close friend, is recovering at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is expected to undergo one last surgery Friday, his mother said.
Kevin Allende, 28, was riding in the passenger seat of a Ford sedan that police say was struck by a drunken driver traveling in a pickup at speeds of up to 60 mph on the wrong side of the street. Allende suffered a lung injury and multiple broken bones. The driver of the Ford, 30-year-old Andrew Martinez of Albuquerque — a hip-hop artist known as Wake Self — died early Tuesday morning from severe injuries.
Police have charged the pickup driver, 24-year-old Diego Alejandro Pichardo of Santa Fe, with aggravated DWI, two counts of causing great bodily harm while under the influence and driving with a revoked license from a previous DWI charge.
Pichardo could face an amended charge of vehicular homicide because of Martinez’s death, a police department spokesman said Tuesday. The agency has not yet announced a decision on the charge, however.
“All charges, if any, are pending the outcome of the investigation which includes the toxicology report,” spokesman Greg Gurulé said in an email Thursday.
Pichardo was still hospitalized for injuries from the crash and had not yet been booked into the Santa Fe County jail, Gurulé said, adding he could not comment on Pichardo’s condition.
Gurulé said he did not know when the investigation would be completed.
Lilia Allende, Kevin Allende’s mother, said her son will remain in the intensive care unit until he recovers from surgery Friday to repair his fractured pelvis — the most serious injury he suffered.
“They hope it’s the last one,” she said, noting doctors had already operated on his left leg and both arms.
Her son was “doing fine so far,” she said Thursday. “He’s talking. He’s eating today.”
Still, it’s likely he will be in the hospital for at least another month, said his aunt, Nydia Ortega.
Ortega said she and other family members decided to wait until after his surgery Friday to inform him of Martinez’s death. The two men, she said, were best friends who frequently collaborated on art projects.
“They had a lot of plans together,” Ortega said. “Kevin had a lot of plans. He’s still thinking he’s going to make it with Andrew.”
Kevin Allende painted a basketball mural in the Toby Roybal Memorial Gymnasium at Santa Fe High School earlier this year and painted a portrait of the Kardashian sisters in Las Cruces in 2017.
Rebecca Garcia, owner of Concrete Jungle Smoke Shop in Santa Fe, said he also spent more than a year painting a mural on the exterior of her Guadalupe Street business.
“He wanted it to be perfect,” Garcia said, adding she spent almost every day with Allende during the project.
When she first met him two or three years ago, she said, he showed her a photo on his cellphone of a black-and-white portrait he had painted of his grandmother.
“You could see every detail, every wrinkle on her face. It was just the most incredible thing,” Garcia said. “But he’s humble. He’s an old soul.”
A GoFundMe campaign launched this week aims to raise $5,000 to support Allende’s medical expenses. As of Thursday afternoon, the page had reached $4,225 from 99 donors.
“Those of us who have met Kevin know that he is a strong, determined and spiritual person who will overcome any and every obstacle put before him,” says a message on the GoFundMe page.
Ortega described her nephew as “a very kind person” who “really cares about community and really loves to take care of others.” She said he is also “very healthy” — he exercises a lot, is vegetarian and is highly spiritual.
“He’s a very loved kid,” she said. “Please pray for a fast recovery.”
Danielle Prokop of The New Mexican contributed to this report.